Sudden death football has taken on a whole new meaning for North Queensland veteran forward Ben Hannant ahead of Friday night’s NRL must-win semi-final against Brisbane in Townsville.
The 31-year-old former Test prop is hoping a stirring display in the cut throat clash against his former club will help prompt the Cowboys to exercise a 12-month option on his contract.
Otherwise, Hannant knows his glittering 13-season NRL career may yet be dead in the water.
There appears to be money up North Queensland’s sleeve thanks to the impending departure of Penrith signing, NSW front rower James Tamou.
However, father-of-six Hannant is taking nothing for granted ahead of what looms as another classic Queensland NRL derby.
“One day everyone’s career is over – but truth be told I am just worried about my role against the Broncos on Friday night,” Hannant told AAP.
“If I don’t, my head is not in the right place.”
Ex-Bronco Hannant has found a new lease on life at the Cowboys, chiming into their historic 2015 premiership title.
The veteran has backed up to again feature in 22 matches this season, averaging 35 minutes, 22 tackles and almost 100 metres per game.
He hopes taking on his former club again brings out something special in him ahead of Cowboys officials.
“I haven’t thought about it too much but every time we play them (Broncos) it is special,” said Hannant who played 148 games for Brisbane from 2006-08 and 2011-14 before being squeezed out due to salary cap restraints.
“I have mates at the Broncos. I know how much they have sacrificed.
“But I just want to send them (Brisbane) out (of title race).
“There’s no ‘I told you so’, there’s no malice.
“They are the opposition and I want to go on for another week.”
Hannant may not want to contemplate his own retirement just yet.
But it seems he spent plenty of time thinking about Broncos skipper and former teammate Corey Parker’s imminent departure.
Parker is preparing for his 347th NRL game on Friday night in Townsville, making him the fourth most capped player of all time.
“I have seen him grow and develop,” Hannant said of Parker.
“The last few years he has gone on in leaps and bounds.
“It’s not about the legacy you leave in the game – it’s the legacy you leave as a man.
“And I am proud of the man he has become now.”