Sam Thaiday admits he feels responsible for Brisbane’s NRL form slump after serving two suspensions in short order.
Thaiday is set to return to the Broncos line-up for Thursday’s crunch clash with St George Illawarra in Wollongong, having completed a one-match ban for a dangerous throw on Penrith’s Bryce Cartwright.
The 31-year-old says he will do so with a point to prove after missing three of Brisbane’s past five games during a period when their top-four hopes have nosedived.
“Thanks for rubbing it in,” Thaiday told reporters on Monday when asked if he felt he was letting down his teammates.
“You feel pretty bad you’re not there. I hate it.
“I’ve let them (teammates) down a couple of times this year.”
Brisbane have lost eight of their past 11 games with Thaiday absent from heavy defeats to Canterbury, Melbourne and the Sydney Roosters.
Josh McGuire was also suspended for the Roosters game last week but will make his return alongside Thaiday this week.
Combined with an injury list that includes Matt Gillett (shoulder), Jordan Kahu (pectoral), Kodi Nikorima (shoulder), Greg Eden (knee) and Jack Reed (shoulder), the bans have left coach Wayne Bennett with a vastly undermanned squad.
“We’ve had guys in and out. We’ve had a few injuries (during games) and that really rattles blokes as well, playing out of position,” Thaiday said.
The Broncos are hopeful of regaining Gillett and possibly Nikorima this week, while strike weapon James Roberts will still face the Dragons despite missing training on Monday due to personal reasons.
McGuire, meanwhile, insists Brisbane’s problems aren’t down to a lack of effort or tensions within the team, as some fans are theorising.
“The intent’s there, we’re just not executing. If we start executing, we’ll start winning football games,” he said.