Suncorp hoodoo is Bennett's: Henjak - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Suncorp hoodoo is Bennett's: Henjak

18/09/2009 04:12:24 PM Comments (0)

Brisbane rookie Ivan Henjak has continued to forge his own coaching identity by dumping the club's abysmal home finals record on the man at the helm for those six losses, Wayne Bennett.

Much has been made this week of Brisbane's winless record in six finals played at Suncorp Stadium (and Lang Park) since 1995, all while Bennett was coach.

While Henjak had refrained from promoting Saturday night's knockout NRL semi-final as a battle of tactics between himself and the man who steered Brisbane to six premierships in 21 seasons, he didn't hold back when the damning statistic was thrown at him on Friday.

"It doesn't faze us at all," said Henjak.

"In (all) six of those losses, Wayne was the coach.

"He hasn't won (a final) at Suncorp either, so maybe that squares it up a little.

"The Broncos haven't won, but neither has Wayne."

Asked about Henjak's claim that he maintained an unblemished finals record at Suncorp Stadium, Bennett, now in charge of St George Illawarra, said: "He's fortunate."

Bennett said his history, or that of the Broncos, would be irrelevant in deciding the winner on Saturday night.

"It's a bit like finishing first and becoming the first (minor premiers) not to go on - it's all immaterial," he said.

"You've got to get the job done on the night and if you're not up to it, it doesn't matter what you've done in the past, me with the Broncos or vice versa or whether we finished first or where they finished, it's all immaterial."

Henjak's comments came as he was forced to confirm star centre Justin Hodges was in doubt with an injury, the details of which the coach would not reveal.

Hodges failed to take part in the team's short, sharp 60 minute session at Red Hill.

Henjak is unlikely to repeat the error of rookie Newcastle coach Rick Stone, who gambled on injured hooker Isaac De Gois.

De Gois suffered a cork to his knee the previous week but played injured against the Bulldogs and was "gone" after the first tackle of the 26-12 loss.

"I'd rather go with 17 fit players," said Henjak when it was suggested Hodges was so important he'd play on one leg.

"He's pulled up a little bit tight after Tuesday so our medical staff will have a look at him tomorrow and make a decision then."

Hodges complained of tightness, believed to be in the hamstring area, after training on Tuesday and was still stiff when the team ran on Friday morning.

If he fails to come up on game morning, young Kiwi Alex Glenn will be promoted from the bench with another youngster Josh McGuire joining the interchange.

While Henjak conceded losing a world class player such as Hodges for such a big game would be a body blow, he was confident whoever played would do the job.

"We've been through enough adversity this year to get over little hurdles like this, or big hurdles like this, and it's not definite he's out yet anyway," he said.

"If he feels confident, we'll go with him."

Henjak said Bennett would have gone to school on Brisbane's 12-2 win over the Dragons last month.

"We're preparing for the game of our life tomorrow, it's do-or-die and that's the way we're treating it," he said of his second final compared to Bennett's 48th.

"It'll be different (from the 12-2 win) because they would have learned some things from then and from the Parramatta game last week as you need to do to win semi-final games.

"I'd be expecting them not to leave anything in the tank and if they have to take risks, they will."

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