Henjak hopeful of Lockyer return - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Henjak hopeful of Lockyer return

By Ian McCullough 21/08/2010 01:09:55 PM Comments (0)

Brisbane coach Ivan Henjak is hopeful Darren Lockyer will be back on board next week against the Warriors as the Broncos battle desperately to stay in NRL finals contention.

Henjak's side are in danger of missing the finals for the first time in 19 years following Friday's 44-18 thrashing by Newcastle - the second successive game they have lost without Lockyer - who is sidelined with a rib injury.

Next Friday's clash in Auckland is shaping up as one of the most important in the Broncos' recent history with defeat almost certain to end a proud run of appearing in every finals series since 1991.

The return of Lockyer, who picked up the injury against North Queensland two weeks ago, could be key to their chances and Henjak admitted his side desperately need their talisman.

"We are hopeful, but he is not over the line yet, but if he feels he is up to it and the medical staff think he is up to it we will have a go," Henjak said.

"If not, we will go with what we have got. He hasn't trained with the team and we will have to see how he goes next week but obviously we do miss him."

Stand-in skipper Corey Parker refused to use Lockyer's absence as an excuse for the defeat, and said the team had already put it behind them.

"Darren wasn't there most of mid-season when we got ourselves out of trouble and I think the easy thing to do is to blame it on Darren not being there," Parker said.

"I would be silly to say I wasn't disappointed but our focus is on the Warriors and the good thing is there is a next week. When there isn't a next week then that is time to worry."

Henjak was also frustrated at some tough calls from the officials against his side.

His ire was aimed at NRL referees chief Robert Finch after Ben Cummins, who was widely criticised by the Knights this week following his performance in their defeat to the Warriors last Sunday, was chosen as one the officials.

The Knights won the penalty count 7-3 and were the beneficiaries of two big decisions in the first half.

The first saw the Broncos denied a third-minute penalty try when Kurt Gidley tackled Jharal Yow Yeh without the ball as he aimed to latch onto an Andrew McCullough grubber kick.

Gidley also avoided the sin-bin and then to add insult to injury scored his side's opening try five minutes later

The officials then ruled a Jarrod Mullen kick for touch was good when it appeared to bounce on the line on the full after Peter Wallace was penalised for stripping, with Adam MacDougall going on to score his side's third try.

"Newcastle didn't have any problems in the penalty count with Ben Cummins tonight," Henjak said.

"Mullen's kick hit the line ... and I am not saying those decisions lost us the game but I just find it amazing that a club will attack a referee publicly all week and they put him up at a home game the following week. That is real smart.

"I thought we got a good start we were in a real battle, but when push came to shove we lost it.

"We need to have an honest look at ourselves."

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