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Broncos coach Anthony Griffin denies a rift with demoted prop Ben Hannant, saying he is trying to get the former Origin prop playing at his peak.
There will be more than just the two competition points at stake for a handful of stars on both sides of the Brookvale Oval halfway line this Friday when the Sea Eagles and Broncos kick off Round 21.

The futures of four former and current Test players remain undecided beyond 2014 with Manly's Anthony Watmough, Steve Matai and Brett Stewart joining Brisbane's Ben Hannant in a haze of uncertainty.

Reports of disharmony amongst Manly's playing group since Glenn Stewart's decision to shift to Souths next season has seen contract negotiations stall at Brookvale, although the club remains confident they can keep their high-profile trio.

North of the border at Red Hill, last week's announcement that Wayne Bennett would return to the Broncos in 2015 has seen Ben Hannant's future prospects at the club improve dramatically.

The relationship between the blonde bookend and coach Anthony Griffin took a sour turn in May when 186-game veteran was sensationally dropped to the Intrust Super Cup for giving contract advice to a younger teammate. 

Reportedly the pair weren't on speaking terms at the time, but given the poor form of big-money recruit Martin Kennedy, Hannant's stint with the Ipswich Jets only lasted one match. Bennett's arrival would greatly enhance Hannant's chances of an extended deal given their history together, with the prop playing underneath the supercoach between 2006 and 2008.

Always the consummate professional and family man, the 29-year-old passionately declared he still wants to be the best he can be on the football field, leaving other sideline distractions such as contract negotiations in the background.

"I've had very little talk with my manager about offers or what's going on at the moment," Hannant said.

"Obviously there are going to be some changes here next year… I've said all along I love this club and I want to be here. 

"For me my focus doesn't change – it's about playing good footy."

The Palm-Beach Currumbin junior is a Gold Coast native and has lived on the glitter strip since moving back from his stint with the Bulldogs at the end of 2010. 

The father to five young children, Hannant's preference is to remain at the Broncos. Last year, rumours linked him to the Titans, although they were quashed by the prop at the time.

"My family life is good at home, my wife and kids are happy, I'm happy, so it's just a matter of playing good footy and what will be, will be," he said.

"As long as I make sure I'm preparing for games the right way and do everything I can week-in, week-out, that gives me the best opportunity to secure a deal to stay."

Judging by his form his season, Hannant hasn't tarnished his prospects of securing a new deal, with the prop scoring two tries so far this season and averaging 105 metres and 29 tackles from 14 games. 

Hannant's numbers are far superior compared to those of former-Rooster Kennedy, who has only averaged 68 metres and 21 tackles from his first 10 games for the Broncos.

This statistical dominance over his front row rival gives the former Test and Origin forward further bargaining power when his long-time manager George Mimis eventually sits down at the Broncos' negotiation table.  

"That's why I've got a manager – I pay him money and he takes care of that side of things," Hannant said.

"My first focus is on my family and then after that to make sure I'm in the best shape I can be and to know my role in the team. If I can do that then that other stuff will take care of itself and it makes [my manager's] job a lot easier."

According to star Broncos forward and the club's resident comedian Sam Thaiday, Hannant needs to keep playing at the top level for as long as possible.

"He's got a long future ahead of him, he's got five kids!"
Thaiday offered. "He will have to keep playing forever; he's in that Petero [Civoniceva] category, I think."

Meanwhile Hannant believes the clash at Brookvale Oval, a venue Brisbane have never won at on a Friday night, shouldn’t have any effect on Brisbane's performance.

"As a player you don’t even look into that, it's 80 minutes of footy and they are always a competitive side, so we have to make sure we're better than last week and bring our best game," he said.

"Every time playing down at Brookvale on a Friday night is a big ask, the atmosphere is always fantastic down there so we have to make sure we rise to the occasion.

"No matter how hostile the crowd is, the main thing is it's going to be a great game of footy between two good sides [and] if we both bring our best game to the field Friday night it's going to make for a great clash."
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National Rugby League respects and honours the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

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