Lockyer happy to work with Henjak - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Lockyer happy to work with Henjak

By Wayne Heming 15/10/2010 06:09:57 PM Comments (0)

Broncos captain Darren Lockyer has given his word he and coach Ivan Henjak have no baggage heading into 2011 despite continued talk of a rift.

"I have absolutely no idea where that talk is coming from," Lockyer told AAP from Australia's Four Nations camp in Sydney on Friday.

"There's no issue between Ivan and me. Both of us are very excited about what we might achieve as a group next year."

"I can assure you there won't be any baggage going into 2011."

Lockyer reportedly fell out with Henjak after being ruled out of Brisbane's last game against Canberra which, had they won, would have put them in the NRL finals for the 19th straight year.

The veteran skipper had been battling a painful rib injury suffered four weeks earlier when crunched by Cowboys forward Luke O'Donnell.

He was desperate to play after Brisbane lost three games straight.

But Henjak made an early call, ruling Lockyer out so the players could focus on the game which they lost 18-16 to Canberra, ending their streak of 18 straight finals.

"There was no falling out with Ivan over that," stressed Lockyer.

"I was always going to be frustrated about not playing, that's the sort of person I am, I've always been that way when I've been injured.

"Ivan made the call early for the sake of the team and I was frustrated I couldn't get there."

Despite the club's hierarchy, including incoming CEO Paul White, backing Henjak in 2011, he is still confronting media reports suggesting he is on borrowed time and that a poor start in 2011 will mean the sack.

A number of top flight coaches, headed by former Test and 2011 NSW coach, Ricky Stuart, and former Broncos boss Wayne Bennett, have been linked to the post even though Bennett would be unlikely to return and Stuart would not be a popular choice with Broncos fans.

Lockyer said the club did not operate that way and would not put its coach or players under such pressure.

"We started poorly last season and we had a very young side," he said.

"The players, the coach, everyone, we have to be on the same page heading in 2011. I know from speaking to Ivan he is as excited as I am about what we can do next year."

Henjak, who's unfairly shouldered most of the blame for Brisbane missing the finals for the first time since 1991, put himself in the hot seat at the club's presentation night last week, declaring Brisbane would not miss the finals again under his watch.

"Missing the top eight was a bitter disappointment to everyone connected with the club," said Henjak.

"Let me assure everyone, the pain the players and staff are feeling is pain we don't want to experience again.

"Although difficult to accept, I know we cannot take our position in the eight for granted.

"It's not our given right and we must work extremely hard to have that honour.

"We have to take advantage of the disappointment we are feeling and turn it into a positive and provide us with the motivation that on our watch this will never happen again."

With the valuable additions of representative prop Ben Hannant and world class centre Greg Inglis, Henjak is confident he has the players and talent to achieve the ultimate prize.

"We will not be satisfied with merely making the numbers in the top eight," he said.

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