Broncos hooker Andrew McCullough insists speculation over the future of coach Wayne Bennett is not affecting the team as the club targets going on a flawless finish to the final five rounds.
Since news broke on May 22 of Brisbane's approach to Storm coach Craig Bellamy to coach the club from 2020, the Broncos have won six out of eight games and risen from ninth on the NRL ladder to seventh.
Bellamy subsequently elected to re-sign with the Storm and while Bennett announced recently no more comments would be made by himself or the club about his future until after a Brisbane board meeting in October, that has not prevented speculation about the seven-time premiership winner heading elsewhere.
McCullough was quizzed leading into the away clash with Canterbury on Thursday night about what impact the "Bennett saga" was having on his teammates.
"None, to be honest," he said.
"It is just a big business now for everyone within the sport regardless of whether you are a player or a coach. Everyone gets on with business and it is up to the hierarchy here at the club to make their own calls.
"It is out of the players' grasp. We come here and enjoy our footy, win a few games and get on with things.
"Everyone goes through contract discussions at certain times. It just happens to be the coach this time."
Bennett puts coaching future on hold
After a gruelling State of Origin series, the Broncos rake's first for the Maroons, he was not happy with his form in the round 18 loss to the Warriors.
Backing up from Origin in clubland has proven to be a challenge for players in the past and McCullough said he was no different, but he was back to some of his best form in last week's 12-10 win over the Sharks where his leadership around the ruck and 50 tackles were key factors.
"It was probably a learning curve and mentally was probably the hardest thing for me," McCullough said of backing up post-Origin.
"I've learned about myself playing in these big games and then coming back to club footy.
"I think my form the last two weeks has been a bit better but the Warriors game was a bit poor. That is all about learning and becoming a better player as you get older and experience those bigger games."
McCullough said it was unlike him to throw punches, as he did against Warriors forward Chris Satae and was sin-binned for his trouble.
"It shouldn't have happened but it was heat of the moment," McCullough said.
"Poor old Chris might have a bit of an ant bite… but it is all good."
McCullough said the gritty win over the experienced Sharks was a valuable development experience for the young forwards in the side before the clash against a Bulldogs outfit that Brisbane took until the final minute to put away 22-20 in round nine.
"Getting a bit of consistency is something we need to get right but [the Sharks win] was a step in the right direction. It certainly was a good experience for some of our young forwards," he said.
Bulldogs v Broncos - Round 21