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20 Jan 2018 17:59
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  •   Home > News > Sports > Rugby League

    No Boyd, no worries for Brisbane: Bennett

    Wayne Bennett is unconcerned by injured skipper Darius Boyd being sidelined, saying the fullback's absence may be a good thing for Brisbane in the NRL finals.

    - article from www.rugbyleague.co.nz

    No Darius Boyd. No worries.

    Wayne Bennett reckons he is not losing any sleep over his injured captain, saying Boyd's absence is "probably not a bad thing" for Brisbane ahead of Friday night's NRL qualifying final with Sydney Roosters.

    Indeed not much fazed Bennett ahead of their finals blockbuster, dismissing the Roosters' claim they would "bash" his depleted Broncos at Allianz Stadium.

    Pint-sized No.7 Kodi Nikorima has been slotted into fullback for Boyd who is no guarantee of returning from a hamstring complaint next week.

    While Bennett dearly wanted Boyd back, the Brisbane coach believed having their skipper sidelined would ensure the Broncos found another gear against the Roosters.

    Bennett cited Brisbane making the 2015 grand final without Boyd (Achilles) for half the season and their 3-1 record this year when their captain was sidelined with a broken thumb.

    "Sometimes it's not a bad thing," Bennett said of Boyd's injury.

    "Everyone knows they have to step up because he isn't going to be there.

    "I don't think there will be any complacency.

    "They played without him in his first year (2015) and they played without him this year - they are confident enough without him."

    Confidence is clearly not an issue for Bennett either after claiming he was unfazed by Roosters skipper Jake Friend's threat that the Broncos should expect "fireworks from the monster tri-colours pack.

    Brisbane's forwards depth will be tested against the Roosters without Korbin Sims (arm), Tevita Pangai Junior (hamstring) and hooker Andrew McCullough (knee).

    Yet Bennett seemed unconcerned.

    "There is nothing they will throw at us tomorrow that we can't handle," he said.

    "We will just have to weather the storm.

    "I am sure they will throw plenty at us.

    "But you don't get to where we get without doing a lot of things well, without being able to handle tough situations.

    "That (threat) isn't an issue for us."

    Bennett admitted he had been tempted to pick utility Jordan Kahu at fullback before confirming Nikorima will wear the No.1 jersey.

    The Roosters had feared Bennett would throw a "spanner in the works" and again reshuffle his backline despite Nikorima training at fullback all week.

    "We were tempted (to pick Kahu at fullback) ... but Kodi has played a lot of fullback in the under 20s and he's a great carrier of the football - I thought he was our best option," Bennett said.

    The reshuffle has elevated veteran Benji Marshall to starting halfback for the blockbuster game just 12 months after the former New Zealand skipper contemplated retirement.

    Marshall was left without a club after 14 NRL seasons but snapped up a one-year Brisbane lifeline after ringing Bennett for advice.

    "The fun is back in Benji's life," Bennett said of Marshall's remarkable resurgence.

    © 2018 NZN, NZCity


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