Hannant props up Maroons - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Hannant props up Maroons

By Wayne Heming 20/06/2009 04:02:52 PM Comments (0)

Queensland have a poor record at ANZ Stadium but rising forward Ben Hannant is relishing the thought of playing on the Maroons' Sydney bogey ground and wrapping up the State of Origin series on Wednesday night.

Queensland ended their frustrating drought at the former Olympic stadium in the series' deciding third game in 2006.

Prior to that, they'd lost 10 and drawn one from 11 Origins at the venue.

But they've turned that around with another win in game two in 2007 before showing the ground holds no more fears, again clinching the series on enemy soil last year in front of 78,751 mostly disappointed NSW fans.

Having won two series deciders in three years, the Sydney venue is no longer an issue for the once edgy Queenslanders.

"It's my home ground, I haven't lost a game there this year so it could be a good thing for me," smiled 24 year-old Hannant, the heir apparent to the next Queensland or Australian prop spot to come along.

"It's tough down there but we're a tight group of guys who play for each other and that's what it takes to win when everything is against you."

Hannant is still young by front-row standards.

But his rapid progress since making his Origin debut from the Broncos last year has been eye-catching.

People were questioning his decision to leave Brisbane, where he won a premiership in 2006, and join the Bulldogs.

But in half a season the blond-haired prop has shown he's one of the best front-rowers in the game.

"To tell you the truth, it doesn't really bother me what people say or think," said Hannant, a Mormon who comes from a family of 12 children.

"I put pressure on myself to be better as a person and as a footy player myself.

"I don't care what other people think. It's what I think and my coach thinks.

"I want to improve my game and continue to get better every year I play in the NRL."

Hannant is happy to continue learning from veteran Queensland props Petero Civoniceva and Steve Price until his time comes.

That could be sooner than he thinks the way he is playing for the Bulldogs and with Queensland's two warhorse front-rowers getting closer to the end of their careers each year.

Hannant already has a place in rugby league history as the code's first confirmed swine flu case.

He spent last week in quarantine with his family on the Gold Coast before helping the Bulldogs flog his former club 44-22.

For now, he is enjoying his role coming off the bench and giving Queensland a lift.

But that's only temporary until his inevitable promotion.

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