Candid viewpoint from Ikin at large

Rugby League

THE Gold Coast's NRL inclusion, Brisbane Broncos' premiership chances and Queensland's Origin 1 triumph were all on the agenda for former Palm Beach-Currumbin High School student Ben Ikin on the weekend.

Ikin, the former Broncos star who played his first season of top-grade footy with the Gold Coast Seagulls back in 1995, was one of the Origin Legends at Harvey Norman South Tweed promoting 25 years of the contest.

With fellow legends Mal Meninga, Andrew Ettingshausen, Steve Walters and Martin Bella, Ikin spent about an hour with footy fans at the store, answering questions, signing autographs and posing for pics.

Here's what he had to say.

Gidday Ben, what are you doing with yourself these days?

I'm the players welfare officer with the Broncos. The job's great, it's all about helping the players get into the work- place once their careers are finished, letting them know what education opportunities are available, helping out with personal issues and financial advice etc.

What are your thoughts on the NRL's decision to grant a licence to the Gold Coast to play in the 2007 competition?

It's terrific. I know the guys behind the bid personally.

Michael Searle is a good friend of mine who has been my accountant since I left high school.

The Searles are also good family friends.

Look, I'm happy for the people of the Gold Coast and I'm really happy for Michael - I know how much work he has put into this. It's great to see.

What were your thoughts on Origin 1?

That game was simply outstanding. But, there is no point getting over excited about it.

It's always good to win the first game, but you need the second to win the series.

Now, I think Queensland know they have a job to do in this series to win it.

Each game is tough.

The teams are so evenly balanced it's a toss of a coin who wins on the day.

Queensland can definitely win down there.

The Broncos have again had a good start to the year. Do you think they can last the distance this time around?

The guys are going well. They are in a good position heading into the Origin series, which is always a hard time.

Due to the success of the Cowboys and the Queenslanders at other clubs it's not as hard this year on the club, which should help the team.

Hopefully, come the (business) end of the season the players should all be right.

The club will be one of the strong challengers for the premiership this year.

Finally Ben, what's it like to have Wayne Bennett as your father-in-law?

He's a great grandfather and not bad father-in-law.

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