Henjak looks to turn Broncos around - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Henjak looks to turn Broncos around

By Wayne Heming 21/07/2009 06:36:48 PM Comments (0)

The heat is on rookie Brisbane coach Ivan Henjak after the Broncos' worst-ever run of results during the State of Origin period left the club in danger of missing the NRL finals for the first time since 1991.

The Broncos' 1-5 match return during the 2009 Origin series is the poorest the club has endured since its inception in 1988.

It tops the 1-3 record under Wayne Bennett in 1996 and also marks the first time the Broncos have lost more than three games during the interstate series.

While Bennett often had the last laugh at critics, such as in 2006 when the side lost three games during the Origin but bounced back to win the premiership - the Broncos 2009 season seems less assured.

After a dream 5-1 start to his coaching career, Henjak has endured those numbers in reverse, the side's defence the major issue having leaked an alarming 231 points in six weeks.

When Brisbane won the premiership in 1998 they conceded just 52 points more (283 points) for the entire 24-match season.

While it's not unusual for Brisbane to do it tough in the Origin period - their overall match record during the series is 57 wins, 48 losses and two draws, it's virtually unheard of for them to concede so many points in such a short period of time.

Despite the losses stacking up, Henjak appeared composed on Tuesday and confident the side could work through the form slump.

"I needed to remind myself what this club has been through over the last 10 years," he told AAP.

"I went through each year individually and there's been some long spells when we've been out of favour.

"We've gone 1-9 and 3-8 and even 3-11 during long runs of losses.

"Out of the last six games we're 1-5 so, it's not good, but we've been here before.

"I know it can turn around because I've seen it turn around in those years as well."

A successful player with Canberra, Henjak served a decade as Bennett's apprentice in Brisbane.

He replaced one of the game's most successful premiership winning coaches after Bennett opted out of the final year of his contract to coach the Dragons.

Bennett, who had coached at Origin level, took five years to win his first premiership and he started with a playing roster which included Wally Lewis, Gene Miles, Allan Langer, Greg Dowling, Steve Renouf and Kerrod Walters.

Henjak doesn't have a roster quite as illustrious.

A number of Bennett's 2008 recruits have yet to deliver while 2009 signings Ben Teo and Langi Setu have not lived up to early expectations in their debut seasons.

Despite criticism in some circles, Henjak said on Tuesday he hadn't been tapped on the shoulder.

"I'd rather they (the Broncos board) don't come out publicly and support me but," offered Henjak, showing he hadn't lost his sense of humour given coaches often get sacked once they receive such backing.

But with skipper Darren Lockyer (knee), forward Sam Thaiday (ribs), Israel Folau (ankle), prop Nick Kenny (hamstring) and veteran Tonie Carroll (knee) on the sidelines this weekend for the match against third placed Gold Coast, things may not get easier any time soon.

"We're going to find out a lot about our character this weekend," said Henjak.

Brought to you by AAP AAP © 2020 AAP

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