Corey Parker says the brisbane players will do their utmost to give sacked coach Anthony Griffin the best possible send-off. Credit: Colin Whelan. Copyright: NRL Photos.
Senior Broncos Corey Parker and Sam Thaiday have spoken for the first time since Monday's shock announcement that Wayne Bennett would return to Red Hill in 2015.
Both Parker and Thaiday are amongst the Broncos' longest-serving and most devoted players who have now been involved in three coaching changes throughout their time in Brisbane.
The Broncos' decision to relieve current coach Anthony Griffin of his duties at season's end and replace him with Bennett came as a surprise to all players within the club. Parker revealed that the players were summoned via text message to appear at the club for an emergency meeting on a scheduled day off.
"We got a text message yesterday to meet in at the club and found out the news. It's been 24 hours now and some guys have dealt with it different ways," he said.
"Obviously we're disappointed, there's no shying away from that. In the industry we're in – whether it's a player, coach or if one of your best mates leaves the club – it's disappointing.
"'Hook' (Griffin) has done a fantastic job at this club and when he leaves it will be with full integrity."
Parker says it is business as usual despite the emotion surrounding yesterday's announcement.
Although sending out Griffin as a premiership-winning coach would be nice, the 291-game veteran is remaining patriotic towards the club he began his career with in 2001.
"As captain of this club I am loyal to the coach we have and at this stage it's 'Hook' [and] no matter who the coach was that would be my outlook," he said.
"Ultimately [a premiership] is what we turn up for and what we do for a job, so if he was to leave a premiership-winning coach I'm sure anyone would take that.
"I've said it before, but I'll say it again – it's never been about one person at this club and it never will be."
The experienced 32-year-old refused to be drawn into what Bennett would bring to the Broncos for the next three seasons, directing his attention to what lies ahead in their current campaign.
"What he's done here and what he developed prior to him leaving has been very good, but Wayne's not here until next year," he said.
"I think everyone's focused on what we've got here at the moment. There are a tough couple of months of football left and all our focus and energy will be towards that.
"You don't make the semi-finals without earning your spot. We’ve got a big four to five weeks coming up footy-wise and I think that's a good thing – it all starts against Melbourne on Friday night."
Griffin has been involved with the Broncos since coaching their under-20s side to the 2008 grand final in a team that featured current stars Ben Hunt, Josh McGuire, Alex Glenn, Josh Hoffman and Andrew McCullough.
Former skipper Sam Thaiday, who was appointed Broncos captain by Griffin during 2012 and 2013, feels that the players who played under Griffin in the under-20s will be the most affected by the decision.
"A lot of these young guys have only ever known 'Hook' as their coach so obviously they'd be feeling somewhat emotional," Thaiday said.
"But at the end of the day our full focus is on finishing this year first. It's going to be different next year with a new coach but we haven’t done what we want to do yet.
"We've still got a long way to go for the perfect fairy tale ending, not just for 'Hook', but for ourselves.
"Last week against the Warriors we took a step in the right direction and [another] test comes this week against a great team which is the Storm."