The future is bright for battling NRL club Brisbane, Wayne Bennett says.
Unfortunately for Broncos fans, the master coach is talking about the long-term future.
Bennett believes Brisbane will be the big winners in years to come after naming one of his most inexperienced benches and injecting teenager Jaydn Su’A into their starting pack for Thursday night’s clash with the Sydney Roosters.
Short term, it doesn’t look so rosy for a Broncos outfit who will again be without Test forward Matt Gillett (shoulder).
Brisbane were already reeling from the one match suspension of Kangaroos forwards Sam Thaiday and Josh McGuire this week.
The Broncos’ interchange boasts just 33 games experience – Herman Ese’ese (seven games), Tevita Pangai Jnr (seven), Jai Arrow (four) and Joe Ofahengaue (15).
And 18-year-old Su’A will play just his fourth NRL game after going from 18th man to starting back-rower due to Gillett’s withdrawal on Wednesday.
But Bennett believed they were positive signs for the club.
“I have got an interchange with no more than 20 (sic) games between them,” Bennett said.
“Hopefully in five years’ time they are the ones leading the team.”
Gillett had been named to make his return from an injury sustained in State of Origin III for Queensland a fortnight ago.
But Bennett opted to cut Gillett despite the back-rower training on Wednesday.
“I wouldn’t say he is definitely right next week,” Bennett said of Gillett who last played for Brisbane on July 1.
“He’s close but right now he’s just not fit to play.”
Bennett took his Test pair’s suspension on the chin.
“It’s just untimely,” he said.
“You tend to get that when you are having a tough time of it.”
Sixth-placed Brisbane need to bounce back with a win to keep in sight of the top four.
But Bennett said he was not concerned about ladder positions or even victories just yet.
“I am not worried about the result,” he said.
“I want them to get back to playing the way I know they can and should be playing.
“The rest will look after itself when we start playing right – hopefully that is sooner rather than later.”