Bennett happy to rest players
Brisbane's five-day turnaround between consecutive away games at Allianz Stadium is short enough the side has elected not to travel back home in between, and mentor Wayne Bennett says players needing rest won't be risked on Thursday night against the Rabbitohs.
The Broncos didn't suffer the same injury woes as their opponents the Roosters on Saturday night but were still exhausted after 80 minutes of finals-intensity football in which they had just 46 per cent of possession and were forced to make 50 more tackles than their opponents.
Asked about his side's now healthier-looking roster compared to top-four rivals the Roosters – who lost Jared Waerea-Hargreaves for the season and Mitchell Pearce for several weeks – and North Queensland (who may have lost James Tamou and Michael Morgan for the season to neck and ankle injuries respectively, pending scans), Bennett joked "we mightn't play next week then, we might save our players for the finals. That sounds good, I like it. We're going to finish one to three anyway, we'll take it now and have the weekend off."
Pressed on whether he would actually rest key players, Bennett said: "They're decisions I've got to make down the track because regardless of what happens now we're in a one to three scenario finish for us, that's where we wanted to be, in the top four."
He said with a top-four finish sewn up and two regular season games left "I'm certainly not going to jeopardise any player at the moment that could do with a week off," he said.
"It's just what we've got to do but I certainly won't be taking any players into the game Thursday night that I don't think [they're right]. If they need a rest we'll make that decision but outside of that we'll back up."
He said he wasn't concerned about trying to ensure a top-two finish and a home final.
"It's always nice but we play so much away and we've won a lot of games away, we're not a bad away team. Again it's no big deal to me. What's important to me is we're playing well and we played well here [against the Roosters]."
He welcomed his side's 80-minute effort despite not getting the result.
"It was typical finals-type football, it's going to run for you, it's going to run against you, when it runs against you you've got to be brave and hang in there and that's what we did. It's going to turn, you know it's going to turn, you've just got to be in the contest when it turns and we were," he said.
Skipper Justin Hodges agreed.
"We hung in there. The first half the Roosters had all the ball, we defended well and got ourselves back in the game, that's the most pleasing bit," he said.