Broncos great Willie Carne fears his former club faces an “almost impossible” task in their opening NRL finals clash against the Cowboys in Townsville.

If anyone knows what it takes for Brisbane to beat the finals odds and make premiership history, it’s Willie Carne.

But the Broncos great admits it will be “almost impossible” for his former club to clear the first finals hurdle this weekend, let alone farewell coach Anthony Griffin with an unlikely NRL title.

The ex-Brisbane flyer was a key to the Broncos making history in 1993 by becoming the first team to win the premiership from fifth spot.

Carne scored in Brisbane’s 14-6 grand final triumph over St George – one of 17 tries for the season – as Brisbane won 11 of their last 13 games to claim back-to-back premierships.

The Broncos face a greater challenge in 2014 after relying on other results to scrape into eighth spot and book an elimination final with North Queensland in Townsville on Saturday night.

No one outside the top four has won the premiership since the NRL top eight finals format was introduced in 1999.

And Carne feared Brisbane would not be re-writing the history books again this year.

Carne kept his fingers crossed but believed playing the fifth-placed Cowboys in Townsville was about as tough as it got come finals time.

“Getting past them up there in a final is almost impossible,” he told AAP.

“But you never know, it ain’t over yet.

“No one has won it from eighth and I don’t think it will happen this year.

“But this is what dreams are made of. They’d make a movie about them if they did.”

Carne said the Broncos could earn darkhorse status if the players dug deep for the departing Griffin, to be replaced by foundation coach Wayne Bennett next season.

“I think Hook (Griffin) is one of those coaches the guys really want to play for,” he said.

“The club has made their decision but I think the players have found it difficult to lose Hook to gain Wayne.

“That could be another key to make them a darkhorse. It may work in our favour.”

Carne said he never doubted the Broncos would fall into the finals despite relying on both Parramatta and the Warriors losing to scrape into the eight after Brisbane’s 22-12 defeat in Melbourne on Friday night.

Broncos skipper Corey Parker admitted he wasn’t so relaxed.

“We were anxious. We had to wait until the last game … but it’s very exciting right now,” he told the NRL website.

“The way the competition has been going this year it was always going to pan out something like that.

“From third to ninth it was a jostle for spots going into the last games, but it’s really nice to get another opportunity.”