Ben Hannant has welcomed the Broncos' beefed-up front row stocks for 2014. Credit: NRL Photos Copyright: NRL Photos
Brisbane Broncos front-rower Ben Hannant doesn't fear being squeezed out by the arrival of giant prop Martin Kennedy in the off-season, welcoming the competition as the countdown to the 2014 season continues.
Speaking at the all-access members-only fan day at Suncorp Stadium, Hannant said he was pleased to see the recruitment of some larger bodies to the Broncos stocks with Kennedy ranking among the biggest forwards to ever pull on a Brisbane jersey.
At 122 kilograms and 190 centimetres, Kennedy has 15kg and seven centimetres on Hannant but the former Origin and Test representative has no doubt that there is room for both in the Brisbane forward pack.
"I don't think it matters what size you are, different players do different roles," Hannant said.
"The lighter forwards are better getting off the deck; the bigger fellas can get a bit more push through the line. I think you need a mix of both and the club's done really well to bring in a couple of guys who are 120 kilos and then there are guys like myself and Josh McGuire that can play the minutes.
"The more depth and different style of players – the tall, the short, the skinny, the stocky ones –that's what you need. If they can bring something different to this team, we're all for it."
The recent removal of Sam Thaiday as captain reinforced the willingness of coach Anthony Griffin to make tough decisions when necessary and reinforced to Hannant that there is no longer any such thing as a certain spot in the Broncos team.
"He's definitely let us know that there are no safe positions in this team," Hannant said. "Last year wasn't acceptable and everyone has got to fight for their spot for this year coming.
"It's exciting and that's how you want it and that's how the fans will want it as well, that there is tough competition for every position.
"The main thing is that we've got depth in a lot of positions. It will be interesting to see what happens in a couple of positions but that's the great thing about this club, there's some good depth, there's good competition and that's what we need leading into these trial games and the first couple of rounds of the season."
Despite the Broncos registering their worst win-loss record in the club's 26-season history, close to 3,000 members took the opportunity to meet their heroes, walk on the hallowed Suncorp Stadium turf and take a tour of the dressing sheds.
Their team may have finished well down the premiership ladder but with average home crowds of 30,480 in 2013 the Broncos still ranked No.1 in the NRL for average attendances. It was up marginally from 2012 but down significantly on their best year in 2010 where they averaged crowds of 35,032.
The current seven-year premiership drought is the club's longest since their admission into the competition in 1988 but Hannant insists the pressure of restoring the Broncos back to their former glories is one that the squad welcomes.
"Pressure of success is exactly what we need," said Hannant. "That's what the fans expect of us, that's what we expect of ourselves and that's what the coach and the CEO expects. That's what this club's culture was built on and we need to make sure we rise to that challenge in the 2014 season.
"The year we had last year wasn't up to the standard we would have liked but to see the support here and getting behind us again for 2014, it's very encouraging.
"We've got high expectations and we have to make sure we get off to a great start in these trials. There are no two buts about it, we've got to make sure that we're better in 2014."