Brisbane veteran Justin Hodges admits he thought he would be celebrating Mad Monday this week but suddenly he is ready to toast NRL success.
Celebrations were always on the cards at the Broncos on Monday despite their precarious NRL finals situation.
Mind you, Brisbane veteran Justin Hodges is the first to admit he firmly believed they would be of the Mad Monday variety.
History shows last round results fell Brisbane’s way for them to squeeze into the top eight and book an elimination final against fifth-placed North Queensland in Townsville on Saturday night.
Much to the pleasant surprise of Hodges who admitted all hope appeared lost after their last round 22-12 defeat at the hands of the Storm in Melbourne.
“No one thought we would be getting ready for training, obviously we thought it would be Mad Monday,” a candid Hodges said of the aftermath of that loss.
“But it’s good to be getting a second chance – we will really enjoy the week.
“Everyone was pretty pumped up about it.”
The entire squad assembled at retired Bronco Jharal Yow Yeh’s home on Sunday to watch Penrith defeat New Zealand Warriors, knocking the last hurdle out of the top eight path for unlikely finalist Brisbane.
Perhaps the player rejoicing the most was backrower Sam Thaiday who was denied a crack at Melbourne due to a crusher tackle ban.
“It was a very long weekend watching football which is what you try not to do,” Thaiday said.
“But the mood on Monday morning was great – the boys were still buzzing.
“We have been given an opportunity now.”
Thaiday had earned a reputation of lifting for clashes against the Cowboys because the NRL club brushed the Townsville-born product as a kid.
But the hulking forward made it clear what his motivation would be on Saturday night after the Broncos’ finals reprieve.
“That’s old news,” he said of his Cowboys snubbing.
“If anything I am fresh, had a week off.
“I haven’t had to make 30 tackles or any hit-ups so my body is ready to go.
“I will be playing to the best of my ability to repay the boys.”
Despite the white knuckle weekend ride, Hodges could still see the funny side of their last gasp finals berth.
“To be honest if you told us at the start of the season we needed two teams to lose (in the last round) to get into the eight it would have been pretty funny,” he said.
“Now we don’t fear any team.”