Scott the Prince of halves, says Henjak - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Scott the Prince of halves, says Henjak

By Wayne Heming 17/04/2008 04:51:00 PM Comments (0)

Brisbane assistant coach Ivan Henjak says the Broncos must shut down the game's best halfback in their Queensland NRL derby on Friday night - and he isn't talking about Johnathan Thurston.

Henjak said publicly what many think privately, that Gold Coast Titans playmaker Scott Prince has overtaken North Queensland star Thurston as the best halfback in the country.

Australian selectors have a fortnight remaining before picking a Kangaroos side to play New Zealand in the Centenary Test with Prince pushing reigning Dally M medallist Thurston for the No.7 jumper.

Henjak had no fears declaring Prince the game's best halfback on the eve of Brisbane's monster clash with the Gold Coast.

"From watching him the last few weeks he's probably as good as any halfback playing at the moment, if not the best," said Henjak of Prince.

"I'd be confident in saying he's probably the best halfback playing in the competition at the moment."

Thurston pulled off a miraculous early comeback from twin shoulder reconstruction surgery to start the season well ahead of schedule and has been playing better each week.

Prince, however, has been dominant from day one.

The Queenslander's match-up against rookie Brisbane half Peter Wallace - a strong candidate for NSW State of Origin honours - is a selector's dream.

Both have lots to play for in a game tipped to pull the biggest crowd to a rugby league game on the Gold Coast.

Henjak, a former halfback, has been singing the praises and pushing Wallace's representative barrow in recent weeks.

But he didn't flinch when asked about the threat Prince posed in his current form against the Broncos at Skilled Park.

"He's got such a great bag of tricks and such wonderful vision," said Henjak, who played 148 first grade games, including Canberra's first grand final in 1987.

"He reads defences really well and if you drop off one second he finds you out.

"We talked about it a lot, being consistent defensively over 80 minutes with him, and if we can do that, once again I think it will help us a lot."

Henjak said Prince may find the going tougher without five-eighth Mat Rogers, who received a four-match ban for a dangerous throw at the judiciary on Wednesday.

Henjak tipped Titans fullback Preston Campbell would step into the playmaking role in Rogers' absence.

Campbell trained at five-eighth on Thursday, suggesting Rogers' replacement, Ashley Harrison, will play more of a defensive role and leave the attack to Campbell.

"With Harrison at five-eighth I think Preston will come into the line a lot more," said Henjak.

"Having Rogers there, it may have sent Preston into his shell a little bit. He hasn't been able to get his hands on the footy as much as he likes.

"I'm expecting him to get the ball a lot more and he may have Harrison playing outside of him at times."

Titans coach John Cartwright said Harrison would wear the No.6, but he expected Campbell to be more involved than he has been in recent weeks.

"Preston will have more responsibility this week," he said.

"He'll play at the back but he's a guy you can't really tell what to do."

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