Life’s so good at Brisbane right now, you almost expect coach Wayne Bennett to crack one of his oh-so-rare smiles.
The table-topping Broncos, having secured their fifth straight NRL win last weekend against the Sydney Roosters, returned to training on Monday with captain Justin Hodges back on deck.
The Queensland and Australia veteran completed the full session and looks increasingly likely to make his return to action this Friday against St George Illawarra after two weeks on the sidelines with a hamstring strain.
Another one of the injured Broncos, forward Adam Blair, also completed light duties on Monday and could be a chance to make his comeback from a corked thigh.
Broncos hooker Andrew McCullough said despite their form in Hodges’ absence he’s sure Bennett will find a spot for the 32-year-old.
“I think so, it’d be hard to leave the captain out,” McCullough said.
“Wayne will bring him in how he sees fit and how he wants to shape the team out.”
Hodges has been replaced for the past two weeks by Dale Copley.
The youngster has been impressive as a fill-in and, with Hodges spending most of Monday’s session running at the fullback position, it may be current fullback Lachlan Maranta or even winger Daniel Vidot who make way should Hodges be declared fit.
Monday’s session also included some strong rehab work by State of Origin flyer Darius Boyd.
The Queensland back is apparently six weeks away from a return after injuring his Achilles in pre-season but could come back earlier than that based on his sharp work.
Another Queensland representative, Sam Thaiday, came in for special praise from McCullough after his barnstorming display against the Roosters.
Thaiday was involved in several run-ins throughout the game with Roosters enforcer Jared Waerea-Hargreaves and McCullough said the former captain’s performance had been inspirational.
“The way he led our forward pack was outstanding and that’s what your want to see from your senior players,” McCullough said.