Folau not the cause of our woes: Henjak - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Folau not the cause of our woes: Henjak

By Wayne Heming and Steve Jancetic 04/08/2009 05:56:23 PM Comments (0)

Embattled coach Ivan Henjak has rejected suggestions Brisbane made a major blunder by releasing key players to bankroll the expensive signing of injured winger Israel Folau.

As the scrutiny on the club continued to grow in the wake of Saturday night's record-breaking loss and allegations of drug and alcohol misuse by players, Henjak backed Brisbane's decision to splurge more than $2 million to secure Folau until 2012.

Folau had everyone talking after scoring eight tries in his first eight games for Brisbane, but has not played since fracturing his fibula last month and will only play again this season if the slumping Broncos make the finals.

It has been suggested Brisbane would not have been in the position they currently find themselves in had they done more to retain players rather than shell out the cash to lure Folau - with hooker Michael Ennis, young prop Ben Hannant and backrowers Greg Eastwood and David Stagg all squeezed out of the club last year.

"That's not true, we didn't put all our eggs in one basket with Israel," Henjak said.

"There was a couple of other guys coming off contract this year that we needed to sign that we thought were priorities for us.

"It was a little more complicated than just Izzy (Folau).

"We made the decision with Izzy, we're happy with that decision and we think he's got a big future with this club.

"I'm excited about the potential we have at this club.

"I know there are some good young kids there and I know they're going to be first graders.

"When that's going to be .... it might be one, two, maybe three years away but I'm confident what is coming through is the future.

"We might have to supplement that with one or two players in the next couple of years but after that we should have a steady flow of kids coming through."

The loss of Ennis, Hannant, Eastwood and Stagg - who ironically all joined the now high-flying Bulldogs - continued a staggering drain of experienced forward talent from the club following 2006.

Shane Webcke, Petero Civoniceva, Shaun Berrigan, Brad Thorn, Dane Carlaw and Casey McGuire have also retired or quit the Broncos in the last three years, while Tonie Carroll hung up the boots last year before being lured back midway through 2009.

Throw in the departure of long-serving coach Wayne Bennett, and Civoniceva said it was inevitable that there would be some rebuilding for the club to undertake.

"You look at the evolution of a club and when players leave and new players come into it, the challenge is always trying to retain the culture," injured Penrith skipper Civoniceva said.

"Sometimes it happens that when people do leave you do take a few steps backwards.

"They've still got some tremendous talent within that team, some great leaders. I'm not fully aware of all the issues that are going on within the club but I have faith that they'll bounce back.

"It's going to take time with Ivan to build that culture again - it's still a relatively young team."

Henjak has handed seven young players their NRL debuts this season unearthing the likes of Ben Hunt, Gerard Beale, Jharal Yow Yeh, Alex Glenn, Dale Copley, Josh McGuire and Dave Hala who made his debut last week against Canberra.

Centre Steve Michaels meanwhile has paid the price for Brisbane's messy defensive record in their last seven games, dropped to the Queensland Cup.

Brisbane do though welcome back halfback Peter Wallace and forwards Sam Thaiday and Nick Kenny for their crunch clash with the Sharks.

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