Brisbane’s senior players have urged their teammates to put the club’s coaching turmoil behind them and focus on sending out Anthony Griffin a winner.
Brisbane’s senior players want their teammates to commit to ensuring outgoing coach Anthony Griffin leaves the club a winner.
No NRL coach has ever repaid a club for sacking him by winning a premiership but the Broncos players believe they can deliver for a man many of them feel has been harshly dumped.
Brisbane players hardly had a chance to celebrate their gutsy win over the Warriors on the weekend before they were being called into the club’s headquarters to be told Griffin would be axed from the club at season’s end, with former mentor Wayne Bennett to return in 2015 on a three-year deal.
Broncos co-captain Corey Parker admitted the decision had been a hard one to take given so many players believed Griffin was doing a fine job and starting to reap the rewards of an off-season restructure last summer.
The Queensland Origin star said, regardless of player’s personal thoughts, the aim must now be to ensure the 2014 campaign ends on a high for the club and Griffin.
“Through a lot of hard work and determination we’ve got ourselves in a position where we can probably do some things in this competition,” Parker said.
“With over 10 games left, our focus will be on that and not just one person but Hook’s obviously a very big part of what we’re doing here.”
Brisbane forward Sam Thaiday backed up Parker’s call, saying the whole club must put their personal thoughts over Griffin’s axing and Bennett’s appointment to one side in the quest for glory.
The 29-year-old said it was never a good time to be at a club when a coach was being told he’s no longer needed.
“Being a coach is a very tough job and probably one I don’t want to do now when I retire,” Thaiday said.
“It’s going to be different next year with a new coach but we haven’t done what we want to do yet.
“The perfect fairytale ending, not just for Hook, but for ourselves and all the hard work we’ve put in is to make it to the grand final and I think last week against the Warriors we took a step in the right direction.”
While Broncos players were affirming their commitment to their outgoing coach, the man who’ll replace him was also confirming he’ll stick with current club Newcastle until season’s end.
Some had called for Bennett to walk away from the Knights following confirmation he was heading to the Broncos but the 64-year-old quashed that idea in a brief statement released on Tuesday.
He added talks with the Broncos had begun late in his decision-making process after he’d been initially linked to the vacant position at St George Illawarra, the club he led to the 2010 premiership.
“As I was deciding on my future, the Brisbane Broncos weren’t in the equation until the board recently contacted me,” Bennett said.
“I never thought I would be presented with the opportunity to return home and I appreciate the confidence the board and owners have shown in me.”