Brisbane coach Wayne Bennett is prepared to rest his Queensland stars from next weekend’s clash with Wests Tigers if required after the NRL leaders emerged from the State of Origin period undefeated for the first time in 16 years.
Four Maroons backed up in Saturday night’s 16-8 win over Canterbury, just three days after helping clinch the State of Origin series against NSW.
Forwards Corey Parker, Sam Thaiday, Matt Gillett and fullback Darius Boyd followed up their efforts for the Maroons with hardworking performances for the Broncos in a tough slog against the Bulldogs.
Bennett, who recently launched a scathing attack on the NRL over the workloads of Origin players, has given his representative stars a break after the victory at ANZ Stadium.
“I just want to see how these guys pull up, they’ve had a huge workload,” said Bennett, turning towards Broncos captain and Origin man of the series Parker.
“They’ve got six days or seven days off until they have to come back to training.
“They’re pretty durable, but I’m not going to say categorically they will play or they won’t play. I’ll just wait and see what shape they come back in by Saturday.”
Parker was proud of his side for getting through Origin undefeated for the first time since 1999.
“The most pleasing thing is, regardless of who has pulled on the jersey, there’s an expectation to do a job, and they’re doing that,” said Parker, who made 21 hit-ups against the Bulldogs, according to Fox Sports Stats.
“Once we get out of this period now, we’ll be able to bunker down and concentrate on the next eight weeks of the season.”
The Broncos sit four points clear of North Queensland at the top of the NRL ladder, but Bennett said the hard work was just beginning for his side ahead of next Sunday’s match with the Tigers at Suncorp Stadium.
“We want to have a game that’s going to stand up under a lot of pressure because that’s what finals football is all about,” he said.