FLASHBACK: August, 2000

The crowd at Brisbane’s ANZ Stadium at southside Nathan, sat in stunned silence when Cronulla Sharks went to the halftime break leading 20-6 against premiership favorites, the Broncos in the fourth qualifying final of the 2000 Telstra title race.
But a second half onslaught saw the Broncos romp home 34-20, with second rower, Gorden Tallis starting the fight back with his second try, just 60 seconds after the resumption.
Tallis had been one of the few Brisbane forwards to make headway in the first half, when Sharks’ Test prop, Jason Stevens ran roughshod over his rivals and cemented his place in Australia’s World Cup squad.
Broncos’ coach, Wayne Bennett called Tallis ‘magnificent’.
Five eighth, Ben Ikin also scored two tries, while fullback, Darren Lockyer kicked five goals from six shots.
Ikin said the Broncos had a simple game plan in 2000.
“We did very little coming out of our own half, except (hooker) Luke Priddis gave it to one of the best packs I’ve ever played with, and big at that, and just steamrolled up the field,” Ikin said. “Off the back of that, we would just kick to the corners to get ourselves in good field position and wear down the opposition. Our backline was pretty handy, although not as brilliant as some that had come before it.”
I covered the Broncos v Cronulla match for ‘The Courier-Mail’ , while our eldest son, Damien enjoyed the hospitality of a corporate box (alongside good mate, Anthony Burke) with my Courier-Mail colleague, Bernie Pramberg their host.
The curtain raiser was the State final of the Nutri Grain Cup, between Palm Beach Currumbin High and St Patrick’s College, Mackay. (In the national final, St Gregory’s College Campbelltown defeated St Francis Xavier’s College, Hamilton (Newcastle). The St Greg’s team included future Melbourne Storm star, Ryan Hoffman. One of the centres was Luke Hession, who did work experience at Queensland Newspapers with me, at the same time as future Test centre, Matt King. Hession, who went on to play for Lezignan in France, scored two tries).
In the other qualifying finals in 2000, Canberra defeated Penrith 28-16; Newcastle accounted for Melbourne 30-16 and Parramatta belted the Roosters 32-8.
Canberra halfback, Brett Finch was man of the match in the Raiders’ win in the national capital, while Newcastle halfback, Andrew Johns was the maestro in the Knights’ home win over the Storm.
Johns won a clear points victory over Melbourne’s Brett Kimmorley, his main rival for the Australian halfback spot. (Kimmorley would go on to play halfback in the World Cup, with Johns at hooker).
Jim Dymock was the inspirational figure in a youthful Parramatta team’s win over the Roosters.
The Broncos would go on to win the premiership, beating the Roosters in the grand final, after the men from Bondi, under the coaching of Graham Murray, beat Canberra, and then Newcastle, in weeks two and three of the finals series.
1 Playing for St George in the early 1990s, Jason Stevens manhandles Broncos’ winger, Michael Hancock. Tony Priddle is the other Dragon.
2 Ben Ikin (in sun glasses) with Queensland Origin teammates (from left) Terry cook, Mark Hohn and Craig Teevan, in 1995
3 Anthony Burke (left) and Chris Watts.

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