One thing Bronco’s millions can’t buy
There's an old and true story about a Cronulla Sharks coach who came thudding back to earth in his first weeks in the job following a fleeting reference to the Broncos.
"You know how the Broncos have their Thoroughbreds and all those rich guys who support them and give money to the club,'' the coach said.
"Make sure you give me a list of who ours are just so I know.''
Silence swept the room before someone said "err, you're kidding ... we don't actually have any ... we can barely pay the bills.''
The clash between the Broncos and Sharks at Suncorp on Friday is one of those rich club-poor club shootouts which reminds us money can mean everything and nothing.
The Broncos last year spent $17 million on their football department, the Sharks just $5 million.
But the Sharks have one thing Brisbane don't.
It's precious and priceless and it's something money cannot buy. It's called resilience and it's been evident in spades this season with five wins from their past six games after a slow start.
Brisbane have become a team which sends out immediate distress signals if a rival scores two quick tries against them.
There are times it feels a decent gust of wind would blow them over.
Cronulla, by contrast, scratch and claw and shake and rattle all the way. You might beat them but they rarely beat themselves.
It's true they are perpetually stretched finance wise with little reminders of a tight budget never far away. When an 18-staff member limit was placed on clubs entering the bubble this year there were times when Cronulla only had 16 because they did not have the staff numbers of other clubs.
But they are rich in spirit and have failed to make the finals only once in the past eight seasons, enduring pep tide scandals and a series of other coach dramas.
Coach John Morris has just three players left from Shane Flanagan's premiership team of 2016 but Flanagan set the "everyone chips in'' tone when he renovated the players gym a few years back and had players painting the walls. The spirit of that message still drives the club.
When Anthony Seibold returned to the Broncos as coach, he cast an eye over the glamorous Red Hill home base and was so impressed he pondered whether the players might have too much for their own good. It was his first concern and it was well founded.
"The facility we're in can breed entitlement," Seibold said in January last year.
The Broncos $27 million high performance centre has kitchens where staff can prepare breakfast and lunch for players, a recovery pool, conference rooms, rehab facilities, hot and cold baths and a state of the art gym.
It has every possible player aid but there's one thing it cannot help with. Resilience. Some things have to be learnt on the job.
Originally published as One thing Bronco's millions can't buy