Henjak to soar higher if Broncos advance - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Henjak to soar higher if Broncos advance

By Wayne Heming 10/09/2009 05:45:45 PM Comments (0)

Rookie coach Ivan Henjak will pull a high pass mark if he conjures up a maiden NRL finals win over post-season debutants the Gold Coast in Saturday night's Skilled Park sellout.

"I think we'll go beyond this week and if we do, then it's fair to say we've exceeded our minimum expectations," said Brisbane chief executive Bruno Cullen when asked about Henjak's class of 2009.

Henjak's steely effort in lifting Brisbane from rock bottom two months ago following a destabilising 56-0 loss to Canberra, to contest their 18th successive finals campaign has shortened his odds to coach the club beyond his current deal which expires in 2010.

A grand final lap of honour on October 8 could result in a multi-year extension for the man who stepped into the hottest coaching job in the game after Wayne Bennett ended his 21 year reign at the club.

Cullen - one of the board members who'll review Henjak's report card in November - said on Thursday the days of career coaches like Bennett were probably gone.

"I don't think there's another 20 year coach in the competition," said Cullen, whose future at the club has been the centre of some speculation.

"You've got your Brian Smiths and Tim Sheens who've been around as long as Wayne, but I think career coaches now can probably look at five or 10 years at one club before moving on.

"Belly (Craig Bellamy) has been at Melbourne now for some considerable time but I couldn't see him going much more than 10 years there, although that's probably not for me to say."

Cullen poured cold water on the possibility of a Henjak-Darren Lockyer coached Broncos once Brisbane's long serving captain hung up his boots.

Lockyer is still waiting for his manager to lock in a number of third party deals before signing what would be his final playing contract with Brisbane.

As one of the game's best tacticians there's been whispers of Lockyer serving a coaching apprenticeship with Brisbane once he retires.

"We haven't spoken about that, Darren wants to play for a few more years yet," said Cullen.

"For someone like Darren to move into coaching, which might be his ambition, I'm not sure, there would have to be a process.

"He's not going to jump straight into first grade I wouldn't think.

"Locky's a pretty private guy and he will address those things when he thinks it's appropriate.

"Right now he thinks the appropriate thing to be is the captain of the Broncos for another couple of years."

Henjak's effort to pull Brisbane out of a massive black hole in his first year as Bennett's replacement was not lost on Cullen.

"Obviously we've got a great track record in making 17 or 18 finals series in a row," he said.

"Sometimes you don't have to hit rock bottom to turn things around, but these guys did.

"The pressure was on because of Wayne's departure but the Broncos are going to miss out on the finals one year.

"Will it be a catastrophe?

"No, but people will make it a catastrophe because it hasn't happened for so long.

"The worst time for it to happen would have been this year because of the focus that would have gone on Ivan and the players with critics saying he can't coach and they can't play."

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