Henjak eyes Lockyer as Broncos co-coach - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Henjak eyes Lockyer as Broncos co-coach

By Wayne Heming 14/08/2008 07:54:42 PM Comments (0)

Incoming coach Ivan Henjak would love to see champion Darren Lockyer keep playing for Brisbane for another three seasons and then jump into a coaching role with him at the club.

Two days after ruling out ever playing rugby union and declaring a huge debt to rugby league, Brisbane's champion five-eighth has been linked with English Super League club Huddersfield when he comes off contract with the Broncos next season.

Henjak was dismissive of the Huddersfield rumours, revealing his desire to see Lockyer launch his coaching career with the Broncos where he's played every one of his 297 games since venturing down from Roma as a teenager in the 1990s.

"I think it would be a real tragedy if he didn't play here as long as he possibly could," said Henjak, hoping Lockyer will help him step into Wayne Bennett's long-time role next season.

"I'd love Darren to keep playing for the Broncos in 2010-2011 and then maybe get on the coaching staff.

"I'm sure he'd be a good coach. I think he is thinking along those lines and I think that is what he wants to do.

"It would be a wonderful thing for him to move into that role, especially at this club."

Chief executive Bruno Cullen, currently negotiating with Lockyer and his manager about extending his deal, is well aware the Queensland Reds and others are circling for Karmichael Hunt's signature.

There are real concerns, given the money rugby has, that Brisbane could struggle to keep both Lockyer and hot property Hunt, who's also off contract in 2009.

Henjak though was optimistic about keeping both stars depending on a few player movements in the next 12 months.

"Darren is very honest bloke. He's very team oriented and he cares a lot about this place," said Henjak, who'll put his own stamp on the Broncos next season.

"There's a lot to play out yet.

"Sam (Thaiday) is off contract, Greg Eastwood's off contract and Dave Taylor is off contract.

"I don't know what's going to happen with those guys and what kind of money will get freed up.

"There's still a lot of things to be played out before now and then.

"And if you look at the Sonny Bill thing, players can get an offer and come and ask for a release.

"That might happen, so yes, there's a possibility we can keep both of them but we'll have to wait until April or May next year to find out."

Lockyer, who made his first grade debut for Brisbane in 1995, will slip past winger Michael Hancock's all-time game record of 297 matches against St George Illawarra at Suncorp Stadium on Friday night.

In a touch of irony, dual international Wendell Sailor, who was Lockyer's teammate when he made his NRL first grade debut against Parramatta, will line-up for the Dragons on Friday night when he breaks Hancock's game record.

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