Hooker Andrew McCullough has stressed Brisbane must focus on the present and not be affected by the club’s coaching controversy.
Brisbane hooker Andrew McCullough has urged his Broncos teammates to toughen up and not allow coach Anthony Griffin’s axing to impact on their 2014 campaign.
The Broncos have lost five of their past six NRL matches – including two since Griffin was given notice by the club’s board – to drop out of the top eight.
Epitomising Brisbane’s struggles has been playmaker Ben Hunt, whose eye-catching form has slipped badly in the defeats to Melbourne and Manly.
McCullough admitted the announcement of Griffin’s looming departure, with Wayne Bennett to return to Red Hill in 2015, had affected some players.
But he stressed the team needed to focus on the present and take a back-to-basics approach to rediscover their form.
“Hook (Griffin) spoke about it being a big business now and we’re all elite sportsmen and our job is to turn up on Friday and do our job,” McCullough said.
“We can’t worry about later on and who’s going to be here next year and whatever, we have to keep things simple and he’ll address that this week for us.”
Despite Hunt’s recent lapses, McCullough backed the halfback to bounce back against Canterbury at Suncorp Stadium on Friday night.
“He will be his own harsh critic,” the No.9 said. “But you can get it back as soon as you can lose it.
“He’s enjoying his footy at the moment, he’s under the pump from a few people but he just needs to concentrate on getting his job done and the rest will fall into place for him.
“He’s probably overplaying his hand at certain times and chasing points when we don’t need to but (a form return) will come back down to a good combination and keeping things simple.”
The Bulldogs are smarting following upset losses to North Queensland and Penrith.
McCullough expects rival hooker Michael Ennis to be at his talkative best in his return to Suncorp.
“That’s all right, I will play with a bit of tape on my ears so I don’t hear anything,” he said. “He’s a competitor and he’s a strong point in their team.”