Maranta ready to cement spot
Brisbane winger Lachlan Maranta is looking forward to the challenge of facing off against his former coach come Friday night's clash with the Penrith Panthers at Suncorp Stadium.
Anthony Griffin was head coach of the Broncos between 2011-2014, before being relieved of his duties to accommodate the return of Wayne Bennett.
Now coach of the Panthers, Griffin granted Maranta his NRL debut in 2012 – something the 24-year-old is very grateful for.
Maranta was full of praise for his former mentor, applauding the character and leadership Griffin showed while at Brisbane.
"He gave me my first shot when I came into the first grade squad. He helped me out by putting me on the wing and running me through what to do," Maranta told NRL.com
"He was very harsh, but he was fair. It was a good feature of him because he had a good balance.
"As a young player it was really good for me because if I needed a kick up the backside he'd give it to me, but if I needed an arm around the shoulder then he'd give that to me as well."
Maranta has now scored 29 tries in 67 games for the Broncos, but 2016 has been an up and down year for the backline utility as he's struggled with injury.
A wrist and knee injury have seen him miss a majority of the season, but his luck has now turned, with injuries to other Brisbane backs gifting him an opportunity to force his way back into the side.
Jack Reed, Jordan Kahu and Greg Eden have all been sidelined – forcing a major backline reshuffle for the Broncos.
But their pain is Maranta's gain, and he now has an ideal opportunity to stake his claim as a permanent fixture on Brisbane's wing.
"I obviously don't want to see anyone in our team get injured. I've had my own injuries this year and I know personally how bad the feeling is," he said.
"It's not a good feeling to be sitting on the sideline because you feel like you aren't part of the team.
"The injuries to the boys have given me a chance and I need to make the most of that now and play consistently.
"This season has been a learning curve for me. I've had my first serious injury that's kept me out for an extended period of time.
"That's part of football. It's better to be learning these things at 24 and not when I'm a bit older."