Ben Hannant says he has the greatest respect for former Roosters teammate Anthony Minichiello, who takes on the Broncos this Friday night. Copyright: Col Whelan/NRL Photos.
Ben Hannant won't share the field of battle with Roosters veteran Anthony Minichiello on Friday night – a hamstring strain put paid to that – but you can bet he will seek him out in the sheds afterwards.

Hannant has too much respect for the face of the game in 2014 to not make the effort to say g'day when he comes to town.

Very few fans would recall that Hannant began his career with the Roosters as a 20-year-old way back in Round 4 of 2005, going on to play a total of eight matches for the Tricolours, playing alongside the current Roosters’ captain on seven occasions.

A year later he had relocated to the Gold Coast and signed with the Broncos for their 2006 premiership season before leaving for the Bulldogs at the end of 2008, only to return to Brisbane at the beginning of 2011.

Before being struck down by injury, Hannant, now 29 and with 174 NRL games behind him, spoke to NRL.com about his admiration for Minichiello, a man he still holds in high regard.

"He's the ultimate athlete. You just look at his physique – he's in great shape, he always looks after his body, he's a great team man," Hannant said.

"Ever since I was there – and we're going on almost 10 years ago when I debuted in 2005 – he was the ultimate professional back then, a great leader and it's no coincidence that he's captain now.

"I have remarkable respect for him as a player. I think he's a massive part of that Roosters team and had a big part to play in that [2013] Grand Final."

After debuting in Round 4 of 2000, Minichiello, a veteran of 277 NRL games, has achieved almost all there is to offer in terms of rugby league accolades.

The 33-year-old has played in six grand finals, winning two of them in 2002 and 2013, has represented NSW on 11 occasions – scoring eight tries – played 18 Tests for Australia, seven for Italy – including last year's World Cup – and won the Golden Boot Award as the game's best player in 2005.

Turning 34 in May and perhaps entering the final year of a glittering 15-season career, Minichiello exhibited some vintage form for the Chooks in their 56-4 drubbing of Parramatta last weekend, bagging his first hat-trick to add to the other 122 tries he has scored throughout the years.

The prognosis on Hannant's hamstring strain is positive and may see him return next week, however it does drain Brisbane's front row stocks, with the one-match suspension inflicted on starting prop Josh McGuire robbing the Broncos of some much need grunt through the middle of the park.

The blonde bookend is currently in the final season of a four-year contract with the Broncos and will be hoping to impress Brisbane's hierarchy once he returns from injury to stake his claim for a new deal amidst salary-cap pressures.  

"Obviously 'Hook' [Anthony Griffin] made his decision to go with Josh at the beginning of the year," he said.

"At the moment I'm only playing around that 40-minute mark so it would be great to get a few more minutes.

"If the opportunity comes to get more minutes I want to make sure I make the most of them.

"I still look around the [change] room – they’ve got photos up (of Brisbane’s premiership-winning sides) and I just take it in and realise what a great opportunity it is to put on the jersey and play at the top level.

"It's a great honour and you can't take it for granted."