Annoyed Brisbane NRL co-skipper Corey Parker has launched an impassioned defence of coach Anthony Griffin as some want Wayne Bennett to return home.
Former and current Broncos’ captains have strenuously opposed any moves to lure NRL master coach Wayne Bennett back home to Brisbane.
As club great Gorden Tallis called for free-agent Bennett to stop playing games and show his true intentions, Brisbane skipper Corey Parker launched an impassioned defence of Anthony Griffin.
An irritated Parker said Griffin had the complete support of himself, co-captain Justin Hodges and the entire playing group in his third season in charge at Red Hill.
The Queensland Origin player voiced his frustration as Bennett’s impending departure from Newcastle was putting a more-intense spotlight on Griffin’s position.
“What Wayne had done here and what he’s done in his career has been amazing,” he said. “But Wayne left in 2008 – we’re in 2014 and we’re still talking about Wayne.
“I’ve got the utmost respect for Wayne and talk to him regularly but Wayne is not here, and Hook (Griffin) is and the respect he’s got within the playing group and organisation here is of the highest quality.”
While chief executive Paul White has backed Griffin, it’s understood at least one Broncos director is interested in having Bennett back at the club he coached for 21 years from its inception.
With Brisbane chasing a top-four finish, Griffin’s position is also shaky due to their inability to win tight matches.
The Broncos sit seventh following their latest close loss – a gutting one-point defeat to Penrith on Monday night – but could drop as low as 11th if they go down to the Warriors this weekend.
They then face Melbourne, Manly, Canterbury and South Sydney in an intimidating four-week run that could well decide their finals hopes and Griffin’s future.
But Parker felt the coach deserved greater respect and praised his transparent style with the players.
“It really bugs me,” he said. “I realise the industry is a results-driven industry but I can assure you on behalf of myself and Justin (Hodges) that the coach has got an enormous amount of support from the playing group.
“We back him 100 per cent.”
Tallis, who captained the Broncos for four seasons under Bennett, also urged the club to move on, especially as he wasn’t up for the challenge with the embattled Knights.
With St George Illawarra the favourites to sign the seven-time premiership coach, who led the Dragons to the 2010 title, Tallis told Triple M radio that Bennett should be up front with his suitors.
He claimed Bennett had attempted to break his deal with Newcastle last season to link with North Queensland, and also knocked back a $1.2 million offer from Souths in 2011 before signing with the Knights.
Tallis said continued speculation of his future hurt the likes of Griffin, Wests Tigers mentor Mick Potter and interim Dragons coach Paul McGregor.
“He should just make a decision, say the club he wants to go to and go there and negotiate with them, and not leave every coach in the NRL going home at night looking over their shoulder,” he said.