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Not all doom and gloom for Broncos

By Wayne Heming 04/09/2010 02:34:34 PM Comments (0)

Coach Ivan Henjak has warned potential and promise alone will not be enough to return Brisbane to the NRL finals in 2011 after their magnificent streak of 18 successive appearances finally ended with Friday night's 18-16 loss to Canberra.

"I'll look back on the year and there's a lot of positives there," said coach Ivan Henjak, who deserves credit for his unwavering faith in the likes of Andrew McCullough, Matt Gillett, Jharal Yow Yeh, Ben Hunt, Josh Hoffman, Alex Glenn, Corey Norman, Antonio Winterstein, Josh McGuire and Mitchell Dodds, all stars of the future.

"We're building a footy team, that's the way I look at it.

"There's a lot of potential in that footy team but if we don't put the effort in and learn a lot from this year, we'll end up in the same position we are now.

"There's still lot of work to do to capitalise on the work we've done this year.

While some may view the Broncos missing out on the finals (by just one win) as failure, others claim the they did exceptionally well to cover the absence of strike centre Justin Hodges and a rib injury to inspirational skipper Darren Lockyer, whose leadership and composure were sadly missed during the closing rounds which ultimately determined Brisbane's fate.

Hodges (Achilles) was always going to be an ace up Brisbane's finals sleeve.

But coach Ivan Henjak never got to play it, the 28 year-old centre failing to make it back on the field as planned.

Hodge's big match experience in such a youthful back line would have made a big difference, especially when Lockyer went down.

Brisbane weren't making excuses after their streak was ended by another young side in Canberra.

The two clubs could be headed for an era of memorable battles with their exciting playing rosters - they could even meet in a few grand finals in coming years, their depth is so impressive.

Digging themselves out of a poor 2-6 start with a nine wins from their next 12 starts through their best State of Origin series return eventually caught up with Brisbane's young guns, left leg weary when the intensity kicked up a notch during a dog fight for finals spots.

If there was a defining moment Brisbane may look back on, it was their gut-wrenching last second 16-14 loss to the Wests Tigers, but every team has one of those during the course of a demanding 24-game season.

What should not be lost in the disappointment of defeat is what Brisbane achieved in making 18 straight finals and what they've done this year in building for the future with so many outstanding young discoveries.

Given the salary cap, the likelihood of more money on offer to the game's stars and the death of loyalty in rugby league, Brisbane's finals streak may stand for a lifetime.

Henjak was philosophical about whether such a proud record would ever be repeated.

"It's an amazing feat ... I don't know if it will ever happen again," said Henjak.

"We could do it again. If you get your systems right and develop players - anything is possible.

"There's some good clubs in the NRL with good culture.

"Melbourne has got a wonderful culture, I know they missed this year, but they could certainty do it if they keep the culture they've got and keep developing players."

It was anything but a lost season for Brisbane.

Friday night's 38,872 turnout pushed their home ground season tally through to 400,000 mark giving them an average of 35,000-a-game for the first time since 1995.

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