Despite speculation surrounding his position, Broncos coach Anthony Griffin has made the tough decision to drop three key players for Saturday night's clash with the Warriors. Credit: Col Whelan. Copyright: NRL Photos
A fourth straight loss could sound the death knell to his tenure at the Brisbane Broncos but coach Anthony Griffin has put club ahead of career with the disciplinary action taken against three players ahead of their clash with the Warriors at Suncorp Stadium on Saturday night.
The Warriors are currently two competition points and one spot ahead of the Broncos on the Telstra Premiership ladder and with speculation growing on where master coach Wayne Bennett will next end up, dropping out of the top eight with seven weeks remaining will further intensify the scrutiny on Griffin.
But with their finals aspirations hanging by a thread and games against the Storm, Sea Eagles, Bulldogs and Rabbitohs in the next month, Griffin had no hesitation in dropping Jack Reed, Daniel Vidot and Corey Oates for a midweek night out in Brisbane.
Dale Copley will come in from the wing to replace Reed in the centres with Lachlan Maranta and Jordan Kahu to start on the wings and reserve forward David Stagg to come into the 17. Dave Hala also failed to finish training on Friday evening with reports emerging that Martin Kennedy will be a late addition.
It's the type of ill-disciplined disruption no team can afford at this point of the season but Griffin said that his personal position or that of the team had no bearing on his decision to drop the trio to Intrust Super Cup.
"It's got nothing to do with me. I've got a job and whether it was Round 1 or Round 25, whether we were on top of the ladder or the bottom of the ladder I would have made the same call," Griffin said late on Friday.
"It's a difficult decision all the time when something like this comes along but it's the right thing for the team and for this club. It's not something I wanted to walk past and the players understand that.
"It's just a lack of discipline. As a club we're very proud of our standards and the players are very remorseful that they've put themselves in that position. It was a lack of judgement on their part and we're being upfront and telling you about it and show you that respect and show our players that respect.
"They're remorseful for putting themselves and the team in that position and they understand that they're outside the standards we want to set as a team."
The Warriors have won five of their past eight clashes with the Broncos including a 56-18 humiliation of an Origin-depleted Brisbane team at Suncorp Stadium in Round 12 last year. Having won seven of their past nine games to storm into premiership contention, Griffin described the Warriors as one of the form teams of the competition and is conscious of the challenge facing his team.
"They're a big, physical team and they've got the class in [Shaun] Johnson, [Feleti] Mateo and [Sam] Tomkins to put a lot of holes in you and they might be the form team of the competition at the moment," Griffin said.
"They're a real handful. They're always at their best against us so it's always a big game when we have to play them."
Although he receives his call-up under somewhat controversial circumstances, it is a welcome return to the NRL for Jordan Kahu who hasn't been seen in first grade since Round 24 last season.
Having trained for the majority of the pre-season at five-eighth, Kahu suffered a serious knee injury in the dying moments of the side's first trial of the year against the Cowboys in Redcliffe but has worked his way back playing with Wynnum Manly in the Intrust Super Cup since late April.
"Lachy Maranta and Jordy Kahu have been busting for an opportunity so they'll get one [Saturday] afternoon," Griffin said.
"Obviously [Jordan] had a lot of setbacks with injury. He got some good news at the start of the year when he didn't need that 'recon' (knee reconsruction) and after a slow start to the year he's been out in the Queensland Cup for the past couple of months.
"He's been on the fringe of our squad throughout the Origin period and if we'd got another injury or two he would have got a run."