'Thousands of sprays': Dolphins' Wallace celebrates 200
Dolphins prop Jarrod Wallace reckons he's had "thousands of sprays' from coach Wayne Bennett that have led to him playing his 200th NRL game against Melbourne on Saturday night at Suncorp Stadium..
Wallace said he "definitely never thought this day would come" after a rocky start to his career.
Following his NRL debut in 2012, the young front-rower was in and out of the Broncos team when Anthony Griffin was coach.
Then Bennett arrived in 2015 and Wallace's career changed for the better in a season when he played 25 games.
Wallace, 31, grinned when asked if he remembered a "spray" Bennett gave him at the Broncos for not working hard enough.
"There have been thousands of sprays along this journey," he said.
"I can tell you about one, the one I will always remember. I got pulled into the team for the first time and Wayne said, 'You've got one game to prove yourself or you can find another club'.
"That's the one that will stick with me forever and why I respect Wayne so much. He told me exactly what I needed to do and I did it. I went on to play every game that year.
"He gave me an opportunity in 2015 to revive my career when I wasn't getting much game time at the Broncos. To come up here and play under him again is exactly what I wanted to do."
Wallace, who had six seasons at the Gold Coast before joining the Dolphins, has rediscovered the kind of form that led to him playing six State of Origin games for Queensland from 2017-2019.
"I feel fantastic at the moment," he said, adding his 200th game would be "a very special occasion" for him - and his family.
"They have been through the ups and downs, and I am very excited to celebrate such a great occasion for myself with such a great bunch of blokes."
The bye last week came at just the right time for the sixth-placed Dolphins after a series of emotion-laden games that included their defeat of the Sydney Roosters in the club's inaugural match, a titanic clash with Brisbane, a record-equalling 28-26 comeback win over Gold Coast and a victory over Cronulla in Bennett's 900th premiership match as coach.
"All the boys have been putting in for great performances. They have all felt like mini semi-finals," Wallace said.
Wallace expects former Storm premiership winners Felise Kaufusi, Brenko Lee and Jesse and Kenny Bromwich to be keen for strong games against their former club on Saturday night.