WHY BENNETT AXED ALLAN
Coach doubted fullback at Broncos but form at Bunnies superb
SUPERCOACH Wayne Bennett has revealed his role in Corey Allan’s axing from the Broncos and admits he doubted whether the Rabbitohs’ fullback discovery would cut it as an NRL footballer.
South Sydney’s premiership hopes appeared shot when Latrell Mitchell ripped his hamstring six weeks ago but Allan has been sensational in the No. 1 jumper during the Rabbitohs’ late-season surge.
Allan’s stunning resurgence will continue on Saturday night when he plays a key role in the Bunnies’ playmaking spine in Souths’ grand final qualifying blockbuster against minor premiers Penrith at ANZ Stadium.
The 28-game rookie is playing like an NRL superstar but, just two years ago, Allan was in limbo at the Broncos.
Bennett was not convinced the Logan Brothers junior had the work ethic to succeed in the top grade.
“Corey has been very good, really good. He has surprised me,” Bennett said ahead of Allan’s backfield duel with Penrith rival Dylan Edwards.
“Corey had been recruited by the Broncos and he got a good offer to go to South Sydney (at the end of 2018). To be honest, I didn’t think he would make it at the Broncos.
“He just wasn’t tracking in the right direction for me, but Souths saw something in him and thought he was worthwhile picking up.
“He went with my blessing, I just couldn‘t find a place for him in the Broncos team and I didn’t think he would play as he has subsequently played here at Souths.”
Ironically, it was Bennett‘s arrival at Redfern last year — after his own sacking at the Broncos — that spawned Allan’s debut in the red and green. Even then, the jury was still out on Allan.
When Titans forward Jai Arrow signed a deal with Souths last December for the 2021 season, Bennett explored offloading Allan to the Gold Coast as part of a straight swap.
Then Mitchell collapsed against Parramatta in round 16 and Allan got his big break.
The 22-year-old has been as dominant as any fullback, scoring four tries in nine games, including 16 tackle breaks, six line breaks and six try assists.
He is averaging 151m with the ball and troubling defenders with his rangy 90kg frame.
“Corey has played with confidence, I can’t give him a big enough rap,” Bennett said.
“Corey has improved with his fitness and confidence in himself. The Rabbitohs have been very good for him as a club, there’s a good group of guys here and Corey has really gelled with them.
“He has always had a good skill set but he is playing with more self-belief.”