Broncos must keep Thaiday: Hodges
The Broncos must do everything in their power to keep Sam Thaiday at the club beyond 2015 according to captain Justin Hodges.
Thaiday has had a rough beginning to the season after being relegated to the bench in Round 2 due to an ill-disciplined performance in the season opener against Souths.
Reports have surfaced that contract talks with the Test and Origin representative have been put on hold until the end of April so the Broncos can assess his form over the coming weeks.
There was also speculation that Wayne Bennett was unhappy with Thaiday's fitness, in particular his weight, when he reported for pre-season duty.
However Hodges believes the club's former skipper will be at Red Hill beyond next season.
"The club has got to do everything they can to keep him. He's been here for over 10 years and been one of our best players every week," Hodges said.
"I'm pretty sure [his contract] will get done and obviously with Wayne being his first time back here he wants to check on how everyone is going, but you've always got to have a Sam Thaiday in your team."
Thaiday made his NRL debut as an 18-year-old in 2003 and Hodges has known him since returning to the club from the Roosters in 2005.
Having famously fallen out of favour with Bennett early in his career for showing disloyalty towards the Broncos, Hodges says his teammate is an ultimate one-club man.
"He's been a loyal player, he hasn't left for anywhere. He could have probably got a big money offer somewhere else, but for him to stay here and play the way he has – the last two weeks he's been our best player off the bench," he said.
"For a guy of his stature in the game and who he is in the game, the way he's conducted himself off the field, in training and on the field has been outstanding."
Thaiday is adamant that his relationship with Bennett is fine, despite rumours and innuendo to the contrary.
The back-rower declaring he's not worried about his contract situation.
"I talk to [Wayne] every day. He gives me tips on whatever game we're playing and makes sure I'm doing my job and that's all I can do at the moment," Thaiday said.
"None of this talk is coming from us as players or our coaching staff at all. I think it's a bit of a beat-up at the moment so I'm just rolling with the punches. I don’t read the paper; I stay away from watching the news and just continue to do my job.
"It's up to my manager to talk to the club and organise contracts and those types of things. At the end of the day footy is what's going to get me a deal and if I play good footy the rest will take care of its self. I'm not too worried about it.
"I turn 30 this year and I reckon I've still got another four years [left in my career]."
The 212-game veteran believes he has an important role to play regardless of whether he's in the starting line-up or not.
"I think from one to 17, if we're all out there doing our job and doing our job well, we'll continue to win games and I think that's what we've done over the past two weeks," he said.
"We were all really good off the bench [against the Sharks and Cowboys] and there was no real difference between the starting players and the bench players."
The Broncos now turn their focus towards Sunday's clash against the Warriors in New Zealand, where they will be chasing three wins in a row for the first time since Round 12 last season.
Brisbane haven’t won in Auckland since 2009 with Thaiday one of only five current Broncos' players to taste success at Mt Smart Stadium.
"It's a very tough trip. It's not a game you can go into light hearted," he said.
"They are a very big team and I thought Parramatta was a very good team and a premiership threat the way they rolled around in Round 1, but the Warriors matched them for size and played some good footy against them last weekend and they'll be pumped to play at home again.
"We are going to have to be on our game to face a big, strong side."