Broncos may have to do it minus Lockyer - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Broncos may have to do it minus Lockyer

By Wayne Heming 16/08/2010 07:22:33 PM Comments (0)

Coach Ivan Henjak concedes Brisbane could be forced to play their way into a 19th successive NRL finals campaign the hard way without inspirational skipper Darren Lockyer and strike centre Justin Hodges.

Henjak is preparing for the absolute worse case scenario that Lockyer's rib cartilage injury could stop him playing again in 2010.

"If we're going to make it (finals) we're going to have to do it the tough way," Henjak told AAP.

Asked if he feared reports Lockyer could struggle to play again this year, he said: "that could be a possibility".

Henjak told Lockyer on the weekend to "get away" for four days and freshen up.

"Darren can't do anything until his injury heals, we don't know what the time frame with him is to be honest," he said.

Teenager Corey Norman will step into Lockyer's five-eighth role against Newcastle in another crunch game for Brisbane, needing at least one win from their last three games to continue their amazing record of not having missed the finals since 1991.

Henjak made a late switch against Parramatta, starting with utility Matt Gillett, but has decided to give 18 year-old Norman a crack at the job until Lockyer makes it back, if he does.

"We'll name Corey Norman at five-eighth (Tuesday) and he'll start there," said Henjak, happy enough with Gillett's cameo against the Eels.

"Gillo (Gillett) was very good but I think he probably enjoys that running game a bit more than having the responsibility of ball-playing which probably takes something away from his natural game.

"It's not that I haven't got confidence in Corey, he just hadn't been up for a while and Gillett had been doing such a good job, I thought it might be pretty physical early on against Parramatta.

"We'll go with Corey this week and give him his chance."

Stand-in captain Corey Parker said the players had confidence in Norman despite critics declaring Brisbane can't make the eight without Lockyer.

Parker noted Brisbane had struggled in their first 10 games but had fought their way up the ladder during their best State of Origin period without Lockyer, Sam Thaiday and Israel Folau.

"Through Origin, without Locky, we really got things on track and knocked off some of the form teams in the comp without him.

"That gives us the confidence we need that we can certainly do it without Locky.

"The only difference now is there's only three games left leading into the semi-finals and maybe the stakes are higher."

Meanwhile Hodges's hopes of a late return from the pre-season Achilles surgery which has kept him off the field all season have nose-dived.

Hodges pulled up sore after training late last week and was unable to run on Monday.

"He couldn't do what he had to do today (Monday) so we're no closer with him I don't think," said Henjak.

Brought to you by AAP AAP © 2024 AAP

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