Bennett hails 'remarkable' McCullough after thumbs-up text
Brisbane hooker Andrew McCullough sent his coach a welcome text on Monday saying he was right to return from injury a month ahead of schedule, the same day Josh McGuire was ruled out long term.
McCullough has trained all week leading into Thursday night's clash with Canterbury after suffering elbow ligament damage in the round-seven loss to Melbourne, an injury medical staff thought would keep him out for up to six weeks.
McGuire filled in at hooker in the win over South Sydney last week but suffered an ankle injury that could result in him also missing up to six weeks.
"He sent me a text on Monday," Bennett said when asked how soon after the prognosis of McGuire's injury that McCullough had put his hand up to play.
Bennett said he was surprised McCullough had recovered so quickly.
"I am, but that's the making of the bloke. He is confident about being able to play and he volunteered himself. He's remarkable," Bennett said.
"He does everything right, and that's half the battle. From the moment he gets an injury he does everything he possibly can to get himself ready to play again.
"We've taken all the precautions and done all the tests and no one can see a reason why he can't play. He has been a career player here and is a real important part of the organisation."
The Broncos have won eight of the 15 games McCullough has missed in the last three years at a winning rate of 53%, compared to the 29 wins from the 47 he has played, a favourable strike rate of 63%.
His presence will allow Bennett more scope with his forward rotation and with using strike weapon Kodi Nikorima off the bench.
McCullough's early return has also come at just the right time for the Broncos as they target making the most of four games at Suncorp Stadium in a row before their round-13 bye.
Bennett has shown faith in a cavalcade of young stars this season, including 18-year-old giant Payne Haas, back-rower Jaydn Su'A, rookie winger Jamayne Isaako and wrecking ball forward Tevita Pangai jnr.
"You get them to that point where they are getting more competent, more self-belief and more comfortable around the team and we are reaping the benefits of that now," he said.
While Haas had a stellar debut against the Rabbitohs last week, Bennett said how he would use him in future weeks was not set in stone.
"I have no plans with Payne right now. We have two of our top forwards [McGuire and Matt Gillett] injured and we need some back-up and we've got that," he said.
"If they are back in six or eight weeks and we are injury free I'll make other decisions but right now it is week by week."