Big guns back for Brisbane Broncos - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Big guns back for Brisbane Broncos

By Wayne Heming 21/02/2010 04:45:54 PM Comments (0)

Brisbane will roll out their heavy artillery this week with representative halves Darren Lockyer and Peter Wallace to use the final pre-season trial against Redcliffe to tune-up for the NRL season opener against the Cowboys.

The pair missed Brisbane's first two trial wins, with Lockyer getting over a bicep injury suffered in the NRL All Star game and Wallace nursing some niggling hamstring issues.

But coach Ivan Henjak was happy with the way in which former Parramatta No.7 Tim Smith and youngster Ben Hunt held the fort in their absence.

"It's something we've struggled with in recent years, when one of our halves have gone down, so it's pleasing to know that area will be covered," said Henjak.

"We've had a few other guys out too, Hodgo (Justin Hodges) and Jharal (Yow Yeh), they'd make a big difference to us as well.

"Nick Kenny (ankle) wasn't there, Antonio (Winterstein) wasn't there, so it wasn't just our halves, there's a few guys to come back to make us a better footy team."

While Henjak wants to reward former wild child Smith for his hard work and commitment with a place in his 17-man squad for the Cowboys clash, he also knows the importance of Lockyer and Wallace squeezing in a least one run together before going up against the in-form Johnathan Thurston.

"Tim's done a great job for us. He's only 24 but he's played a fair bit of NRL and he's got a real football brain," said Henjak.

"He's a real asset for us.

"(Getting him in the side) is something we have to work out in the next few weeks, getting the balance on the field and on the bench right are going to be the difficult decisions to make."

Smith suffered a corked shin in the win over Canberra, but the injury is not serious.

Lockyer, meanwhile, is under pressure to make a decision about his representative future after recently sounding out long-time coach and friend Wayne Bennett while in All Star camp.

Queensland legend Arthur Beetson expressed concern at the weekend that the champion five-eighth could be in danger of going one year too long at the top and putting Australian selectors in a difficult position.

"There were signs there last year that he was a bit off the pace," Beetson told Brisbane's Sunday Mail,

"He's been such a great champion, I'd hate to see him go down that path of playing on too long.

"The last thing I want to see is him going on and being dropped from the Australian team or loses the captaincy or something sad like that."

All the indicators point to Lockyer calling it quits but, like every NRL player, he has until April to notify the Australian Rugby League if he is available for representative football in 2010.

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