Parker given all clear for NRL finals

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Parker given all clear for NRL finals

Broncos coach Wayne Bennett has cleared recovering back-rower Corey Parker to play Saturday night’s NRL qualifying final against North Queensland at Suncorp Stadium.

Parker ran strongly at Friday’s Suncorp Stadium session, allaying fears over a troublesome hamstring complaint that forced him to leave training early on Wednesday.

Brisbane have also been boosted by fellow veteran forward Sam Thaiday re-signing for another three years, all but ensuring he is a Bronco for life.

Bennett said he was never concerned by Parker’s complaint.

“He was never out. You guys just made a big news story out of it,” he said.

“(But) all our quality players mean a lot to us and he is no different.”

Bennett also did not seem to be stressing about re-signing Thaiday despite contract talks dragging out for months.

Bennett said 30-year-old Thaiday had earned the Broncos’ loyalty after extending his glittering 13-season career at Brisbane by signing on until the end of 2018.

“I have always valued it (loyalty) here,” Bennett said.

“That’s why I have had a lot of players play out their careers here.

“Sometimes it doesn’t happen but we try to make it happen particularly if players are putting in, not resting on their 250-game laurels.

“At the same time I can’t be blind when someone is not putting in, then I have to be honest and tell them it is time to play somewhere else.”

Thaiday said re-signing with the Broncos was always a “done deal”.

“In my heart I always wanted to stay at the Broncos,” Thaiday said.

“I couldn’t see myself going anywhere else, it was always a done deal.

“I’m happy to be here, and happy to be here for life.”

North Queensland have a 3-0 finals record against Brisbane.

The winner of Saturday night’s sold out clash will earn a preliminary final berth and a week off.

The loser will play a knockout final next week against the winner of Sunday’s Cronulla-South Sydney playoff.

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