Set that launch pad, urges Henjak - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Set that launch pad, urges Henjak

By Jim Morton 01/07/2010 03:16:59 PM Comments (0)

Proud coach Ivan Henjak has urged his young Broncos to put an "exclamation mark" on their remarkable mid-season turnaround against Wests Tigers on Friday night.

Brisbane are enjoying their best-ever return during the representative period, winning six of seven matches to jump from second-last to sixth on the NRL ladder.

The State-of-Origin period usually brings a major speedbump to Brisbane's premiership campaign but it has helped transform Henjak's largely inexperienced crew in 2010.

Whereas Brisbane conceded 29 points per game in their 2-6 start to 2010, their defence has leaked just 11 points on average since shocking Melbourne Storm 34-16 after the Anzac Test in round nine.

With a bye to follow next week's Origin dead rubber in Sydney, Henjak felt victory over the third-placed Tigers at Suncorp Stadium would provide a perfect launch pad for the run home.

"Coming into the bye this will be a good one to throw everything into," he said on Thursday morning.

"I think they've done remarkably well in the last two months of footy, turned a lot of things around, so it's a really good opportunity I suppose to put an exclamation mark on that."

Henjak credited the attitude and commitment of his Queensland Origin players Darren Lockyer, Sam Thaiday and Israel Folau as major factors in the reversal of fortunes.

He also said it took six weeks to see the benefits from a change in training, while the team's confidence grew hugely with the pivotal Storm upset.

"I'm pretty sure in the first eight weeks we were the worst defensive team and in the next eight games we've been the best defensive team in the competition," Henjak said.

"So it's been a big turnaround and full credit to the coaching staff and the players."

The Broncos were on Thursday forced into a late team reshuffle with tackle-busting forward Lagi Setu replaced by centre Gerard Beale.

Setu, carrying a knee injury, limped off midway through the Broncos' morning training session at Red Hill, allowing Beale to return early from his own knee problem.

Utility Ben Te'o is expected to move into the forward pack but Henjak was unfazed by the late switch.

"We'll shuffle a few things around and there won't be a disruption for us, Gerard's been here all week training as well so it won't be disruption for us," he said.

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