Broncos' NRL season a success: Webcke - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Broncos' NRL season a success: Webcke

By Laine Clark and Wayne Heming 14/09/2011 08:01:22 PM Comments (0)

A legion of Darren Lockyer fans praying for a fairytale farewell may beg to differ.

But Brisbane great Shane Webcke reckons this weekend's NRL finals result "doesn't matter" - the Broncos can already call 2011 a success.

Much more than a preliminary final berth is on the line on Saturday night.

The stage is set for an emotional clash with departing St George Illawarra coach Wayne Bennett attempting to kill off ex-protege Lockyer's NRL career at a packed Suncorp Stadium.

Plenty of hurdles remain if Brisbane are to send the retiring Lockyer out a winner - just like Webcke did in 2006.

But Webcke believes the Broncos have already cleared enough to claim a successful season.

The ex-Test prop was amazed that Brisbane could overcome a tumultuous pre-season, featuring coach Ivan Henjak's shock axing, and launch a finals campaign from third spot.

"It doesn't matter if they go on and win it or they get knocked out in the second week of the finals or whatever," Webcke told AAP.

"There's no way in my eyes that this can be considered anything other than a successful season for the Brisbane Broncos."

Webcke said it was "remarkable" what rookie coach Anthony Griffin had achieved after taking up the reins just weeks before the season kick-off.

"Consider where this side has come from ... the turmoil that engulfed the club early in the season," he said.

"(There was) Greg Inglis' backflip, the speculation about (Griffin) Hook's credentials to coach the club on such short notice.

"They also missed the finals the previous year for the first time in almost two decades.

"It has been a remarkable performance. It doesn't matter which way you look at it."

Broncos veteran Corey Parker also paid tribute to Griffin - but couldn't resist a comparison with that man Bennett.

"Hook has his own way of doing things and, certainly, Wayne does as well - one thing they have in common is that they are good 'people' people, if that makes sense," Parker said on Wednesday.

"They don't overcomplicate things. They are very black and white - you know where you stand which I think in this game is very important."

Mentioning Bennett or Lockyer has been inevitable this week.

Even Parker - not usually one to wax lyrical with the media - was in on the act by talking about the "Wayne Bennett factor".

"Any Wayne Bennett-coached team is going to be well prepared - we are well aware of that," he said.

"Having had the pleasure of being coached by Wayne for a number of years ... I can assure you St George will turn up here on Saturday raring to go."

The only other name mentioned regularly this week is Broncos centre Justin Hodges.

He is being nursed through the week after returning last round from yet another hamstring injury.

Hodges featured in Wednesday's session before leaving the field when the squad began "extras".

Parker was so confident about Hodges' fitness he could afford to joke about it.

"Hodges will be fine. He spoke about a bit of tightness so, in true Hodgo style, he pulled himself out (of training)," Parker smiled.

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