First night nerves for rookie Griffin - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

First night nerves for rookie Griffin

By Wayne Heming 03/03/2011 05:50:14 PM Comments (0)

Anthony Griffin has his first win as Brisbane coach, but he knows the true test will be next Friday night's NRL season opener with North Queensland.

Griffin, elevated to head coach after Brisbane axed Ivan Henjak last month, made his debut in Brisbane's impressive six-try-to-one trial win over Melbourne at Dolphin Oval last Saturday night.

But he knows the opening night nerves will be much worse on the big stage in front of a Suncorp Stadium crowd, tipped to nudge 45,000, expecting him to deliver a debut win.

"No mate, that was a trial, I'm not counting that as my first win," said Griffin who'll reveal his 17-man squad for round one next week.

"The Cowboys game is the real deal and that's what we've been focusing on and aiming towards.

Griffin is confident his players have done the necessary hard work during the pre-season under fitness coordinator Tony Guilfoyle to have them ready for the Cowboys.

"They're physically well prepared and fitter than what they've been in the past," he said.

"My job is to have them mentally right."

Griffin believes his results in the first three or four months will shape his NRL coaching career.

"How the team plays over the next 12 or so games, I'll live or die by that ... my career.

"I understand that and I'm looking forward to it. It's what I've been working for as a coach all my life."

After doing an apprenticeship under coaches of the calibre of Wayne Bennett and Craig Bellamy, Griffin has learned a lot about preparing teams but realises he still has much to learn.

"I'm still learning. I don't take myself too seriously, I've learned to do that over the years," he said.

"I've got an open mind about change and about how to deal with players because they change every year.

"You're dealing with different guys now than five years ago, how they act and their culture.

"I don't really define myself in anyway at all.

"I've got a good grasp of the game technically and I think I provide a good culture with a bit of discipline."

Griffin has a few welcome selection headaches in the pack and in his backline settling on a new left-side centre and wing.

But after three trial wins over the Titans, Cowboys and Storm, a lot of players are pushing for selection.

"It's a nice position to be in, to have a bit of depth in key positions," Griffin added.

Centre Justin Hodges will have to prove his fitness after suffering a minor hamstring tear against Melbourne while Sam Thaiday is back training after extensive treatment for a groin injury.

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