Time heals all wounds, apparently – except when it comes to Wayne Bennett, Darius Boyd and the Newcastle Knights.
Brisbane veteran Sam Thaiday says there’s still plenty of tension between supercoach Bennett, Boyd and their former club ahead of their visit to Suncorp Stadium on Saturday night.
More than a year has passed since the pair quit the Knights to return to Red Hill, but it hasn’t stopped them from wearing the blame for the team’s continued woes, and in particular Bennett for the state he left their playing roster in.
Boyd stepped in to defend Bennett this week when he told News Corp the Knights needed to look at themselves – not at others – as the source of their struggles.
“There’s probably a little bit of feeling there,” Thaiday said on Wednesday.
Thaiday is also expecting fireworks from former Bronco Dane Gagai, who has been one of Newcastle’s best in a poor start to the season as he pushes for another representative jumper.
“We’ve got a couple of ex-players in that team as well that are going to probably stand up and really have a crack,” Thaiday said.
“I know Dane Gagai’s probably one of those players who will be one of their best on the night and will be playing a tough, good brand of footy.
“He’s probably pushing himself into maybe Australian selection or even a call-up to the Queensland team again.”
Boyd didn’t train on Wednesday for the second time this week, but he is still expected to take his place in the Brisbane team on Saturday, having been given time to deal with personal matters.
The Knights edged Wests Tigers 18-16 last weekend to notch their first win of the season.
While Brisbane go into the game as overwhelming favourites, the burden of expectation seemed to weigh down on the Broncos in last week’s scrappy win over St George Illawarra.
“They’re always the tougher games,” second-rower Alex Glenn said.
“Everyone gives you raps and reckons you’ll do it easy and that’s where sometimes you fall into a weakness.
“That’s where we’ve got to train extra hard and make sure we stay to our standards, turn up and play our hearts out – and not just turn up and expect the win to happen.”