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Fate finally brings Allan and Bennett together

Corey Allan was destined to be coached by Wayne Bennett.

He spent the past two years in the Broncos under 20 side and graduated to one of their affiliate clubs in Intrust Super Cup, the Souths Logan Magpies.

So while Allan was not directly under Bennett's jurisdiction, he mixed in the master coach's circles.

But in May last year, then South Sydney coach Anthony Seibold signed the 19-year-old to a three-year contract with the Rabbitohs.

By the time Allan arrived at Redfern late last year there were rumblings that Seibold was on the way out and Bennett was on the way in. spoke to the young fullback after a late pre-season Rabbitohs session under Bennett's tutelage.

"It's crazy hey," Allan said of leaving Bennett's backyard to head to another NRL club and then ending up right back under Bennett again.

"But I have no problems at all with the fact the coach I signed on with is now not the coach. I'm just going to do my best to play my best footy."

Rabbitohs fullback Corey Allan.
Rabbitohs fullback Corey Allan. ©Gregg Porteous/NRL Photos

It's not as if strange and sensational things haven't happened already to the 2018 Emerging Maroons squad member and 2017 Junior Kangaroo.

Test coach Mal Meninga plucked the 90kg fullback straight out of reserve grade and into his Prime Minister's XIII last October, making him the first to make that team with no NRL experience.

"I'm still startled by it. I'm still a bit speechless about it because I don't really know how I ended up there," Allan said.

"But I'm proud of myself for being noticed. I had a good game and being able to play alongside that quality of player and under Mal was an amazing experience."

And now another milestone. He is due to make his NRL debut on Friday at the SCG after Bennett named him on the bench for the Telstra Premiership season-opener against the Roosters.

The interview came three weeks earlier, after Allan had been sweating it out on the training paddock trying to pick up extra tips on No.1 from Alex Johnston and Greg Inglis. And all the while Bennett carefully oversees his development along with the rest of his squad.

"Those three alone, most people would dream about having them be your coach, your teammate, or your mentor," Allan said.

"So I'm lucky enough to have them. Greg and Wayne are helping me a lot already, especially Greg out on the field, as well as AJ – he's been great with me too.

"I want to try and impress them so I'm listening to all they tell me."

The Logan Brothers junior played mainly in the halves before the call came in the Under-16s one weekend.

"I don't know why I like fullback so much," he said.

"I used to be a half and then one day my coach [Lincoln McLeod] says to me 'I'm going to throw you out the back'. I was thinking to myself 'I've never played there; I don't want to catch those high balls'. But as soon as I did it I loved it.

Rabbitohs fullback Corey Allan celebrates his try in the Charity Shield.
Rabbitohs fullback Corey Allan celebrates his try in the Charity Shield. ©Gregg Porteous/NRL Photos

"I think it's because I have more time. I'm pretty quick on the ground but being out the back I have time to choose what to do.

"I don't let the pressure get to me too much. If I make a mistake I'm pretty good at letting it go quickly. I won't dwell on any mistakes but I also know I won't make them again either."

The only familiar face when he arrived at the Rabbitohs – apart from Bennett – was backrower Cameron Murray, who was with him in the Junior Kangaroos side.

"It was good seeing his face here on day one, but everyone was so welcoming I felt like I knew the boys already," Allan said.

"Being at this club is amazing. They have the best members, the best fans, a rich culture. No matter where you go in the world you see someone in a Rabbitohs jersey."

Allan will be in one on Friday night.


Acknowledgement of Country

Queensland Rugby League respects and honours the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

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