Rookie Henjak relaxed about first finals - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Rookie Henjak relaxed about first finals

By Wayne Heming 03/09/2009 06:20:29 PM Comments (0)

Rookie coach Ivan Henjak has 176 reasons to feel relaxed and comfortable about his maiden NRL finals series.

Brisbane can't miss the first round of the finals regardless of the result of Sunday night's clash with Canberra.

They face seven different possible scenarios against five clubs, including the possibility of a home final, depending on how results fall in the last round of the minor premiership but Henjak is not losing sleep over who they may or may not come up against.

He admitted on Thursday it was very reassuring having so many players in his side who'd played at the highest level and who'd already tasted grand final success.

Brisbane's "super six" - skipper Darren Lockyer (83), comeback veteran Tonie Carroll (30) departing fullback Karmichael Hunt (21), centre Justin Hodges (19), boom young back Israel Folau (12) and forward Sam Thaiday (11) have played a total of 176 representative games.

They've also each played in at least one winning grand final team along with lock Corey Parker who was part of the last Brisbane side to win a premiership in 2006.

That kind of talent is a coach's dream, playing finals football where experience is paramount.

"It's a big advantage that we've got some guys who played in big matches, that's for sure," Henjak told AAP before the clash with Canberra.

"Those guys have played in all the big matches.

"They've won premierships and Origin series' and games for Australia so that's a real big bonus for us."

Hodges shares the same opinion.

"It helps heaps that we've all played finals footy and that we've got a bloke back like Tunza (Carroll) who's played stacks of finals footy," said Hodges.

Henjak has noticed a change in the attitude at training.

"When those guys start to take the lead role you can really notice the quality of the sessions pick up and the confidence of the younger guys grows as well."

While Hodges said there was a "buzz" at the Broncos this week it was only a month ago Brisbane played "like bums" against the Raiders who flogged them 56-0.

"It was one of those nights and we played like bums, but Sunday night will be a different story," said Hodges.

Canberra directed most of their attack at Brisbane's right side defence of Hodges and Lockyer with Phil Graham helping himself to four tries.

Henjak wasn't worried about Brisbane having to square the ledger after the worst defeat in the club's history.

"I just don't want us to get sloppy and to get complacent and think because we're going to be in the semis we forget all the things that have turned us around in the past month," he said.

"We've worked really hard to get ourselves back in the contest and I just don't want us getting sloppy and thinking there are easier ways to do things.

"We have to be motivated by pride in our own personal performance and by the standards we've set over the last month.

"We want to be going into the finals with our confidence and self belief at a really high level.

Brought to you by AAP AAP © 2022 AAP

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