No axing threat for Broncos youngsters - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

No axing threat for Broncos youngsters

By Wayne Heming 11/03/2010 07:49:05 PM Comments (0)

Ivan Henjak's infants will be able to play without the threat of the axe if they stuff up against the Cowboys in Friday night's high pressure NRL opener at Suncorp Stadium.

In fact fullback Corey Norman (18), centre Gerard Beale (19) and forwards Matt Gillett (21) and Mitchell Dodds (20) have been urged to have fun and play their natural games in front of a sell out house and a far more experienced Cowboys side determined to the test their NRL credentials.

A lot has been made of Henjak gambling on his department of youth.

Norman, Gillett and Dodd will be making their debuts while Beale will play just his second NRL game.

Henjak did the same last year when he replaced Wayne Bennett, blooding several teenagers, including hooker Andrew McCullough and winger Antonio Winterstein.

The Cowboys have promised to target rookie Norman but Henjak hasn't noticed any nerves from any of his young players his week, confident they'll step up, even if they make a few mistakes.

They certainly won't be playing under the fear of being dropped if they make an honest mistake on the night.

"If they're doing their best and doing the things we've asked of them, whether we win or lose is not going to determine whether they stay in the team or not," said Henjak.

"What we won't tolerate is if they don't compete and they don't keep trying but if they do what we've asked, we'll stick with them.

"They've done the work and they haven't looked out of place.

"I'm sure they're confident they can handle it and the players are confident in them.

"These kids are not afraid to make mistakes and although I'm not sure that's a good thing all the time, they're certainly prepared to back themselves.

"The message to them tomorrow night will be to go out and enjoy themselves."

The Cowboys trained in Townsville before arriving in Brisbane on Friday afternoon without injured prop Carl Webb.

Henjak said the message had been repeated over and over again this week to watch halfback Johnathan Thurston like a hawk.

Thurston is especially dangerous when fatigue sets in late in the halves.

"That's going to be pretty crucial that we don't go to sleep on him, not only late in the halves but also late in the tackle counts.

"He's a very dangerous player and we're quite aware we have to play out every set of six and right to the end of each half as well.

"We've talked about where he can hurt us and what we need to do to combat that."

While Willie Mason will be fired up to make a big impression in his debut for the Cowboys Henjak said the former Roosters Test forward's name had not been mentioned.

"No, Willie hasn't been mentioned, he's not an issue for us," he said.

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