Playing Thaiday at hooker 'a mistake', admits Bennett

Wayne Bennett has taken ownership for the decision to start Sam Thaiday at hooker last Thursday night, labelling it "a mistake".

Andrew McCullough came off the bench in the loss to the St George Illawarra Dragons but is set to start against the North Queensland Cowboys on Friday night with Thaiday on the bench.

The Broncos were disjointed in attack from the start at Kogarah but Bennett did not blame Thaiday.

"He has been pretty good Sam and I made a mistake putting him at hooker," Bennett said.

"He’s been great in pre-season and there is no reason to suggest that Sam still hasn’t got something to offer the team and I am sure that’s what he wants to do."

Thaiday has welcomed his new role as a leader off the bench where he intends to provide some spark and said he probably overplayed his hand.

Brisbane Broncos veteran Sam Thaiday.
Brisbane Broncos veteran Sam Thaiday. ©Scott Davis/NRL Photos

"It is definitely a tough position and I think I got ahead of myself a little bit at dummy half and thought I was a dummy half,” Thaiday said.

"I should have realised the number that was on my back. I still had the 10 on so I should have played more like a forward and made sure I got the ball to the right people at the right time but I am looking forward to pushing back into the forwards and doing something I actually know."

McCullough told NRL.com this week he was confident he could get through 80 minutes against the Cowboys after his first hitout back from an ACL injury.

"He is really important and it is good to have him back," Bennett said.

"We’ll have to wait and see [whether McCullough plays 80 minutes] but he’s starting and we’ll have to go from there."

Bennett confirmed the bench would be as named with outside back Tom Opacic and Thaiday joined by Joe Ofahengaue and Korbin Sims.

Jordan Kahu’s ability to play fullback, wing, centre and five-eighth is also cover should a key player go down injured.

"[Opacic] can play in the centres and Jordan Kahu can play a number of positions from there, so one fills up one position and the other guy is very flexible and can play in a lot of different places," Bennett said.

"The bench is an important part of the game and we’ve always had up and coming players on our bench and ones that are experienced there as well.

"The team had an off night [against the Dragons] so I can’t blame the bench for what happened.

Match: Broncos v Cowboys

Round 2 -

Full Time
Broncos

Home Team

Broncos

Scored 24 points
Cowboys

Away Team

Cowboys

Scored 20 points

Venue: Suncorp Stadium

Match broadcasters:

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"I’ve coached enough games so I kind of know how it works, and you can’t drop eight balls and give away eight penalties on top of that and think your halves are going to play well. That is never going to happen."

When it comes to halves Anthony Milford and  Kodi Nikorima, who have come under fire this week, Bennett said they just needed to perform their roles.

"I just want them to play good football, that’s the first priority,” he said.

"They have both got to share responsibility out there and it needs both of them to do it. It is not a one-man band. One has got to get his backline working and the other one has got to get his forwards working.

I am looking forward to pushing back into the forwards and doing something I actually know.

Sam Thaiday

"Kodi is a pretty good talker and Milly [Milford] talks to me pretty good. They both talk."

Bennett was quizzed on a wide range of topics including statements by former Broncos star Trevor Gillmeister that Brisbane lacked a senior prop with Joe Ofahengaue, Matt Lodge and Tevita Pangai jnr still in the formative years of their careers.

"Well they won’t get senior if they don’t play," Bennett said.

"They are out there playing again this week. They get another game behind them. I don’t know how many games you’ve got to play to get senior but we’ve got enough experience out there. Sam is still in the team.”