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Thaiday move puts Griffin under pressure

Brisbane's Anthony Griffin has become arguably the NRL coach under most pressure ahead of the 2014 season after the shock dumping of Sam Thaiday as captain.
Thaiday move puts Griffin under pressure
by AAP

By James MacSmith

SYDNEY, Jan 11 AAP - Brisbane's Anthony Griffin has become arguably the NRL coach under most pressure ahead of the 2014 season after the shock dumping of Sam Thaiday as captain.

St George Illawarra mentor Steve Price and Wests Tigers' Mick Potter are under the blowtorch too but, in sacking Thaiday as skipper, Griffin has pinpointed what he viewed as one of the club's shortcomings last season.

Now he has to prove it by coaching them to the finals in 2014.

The Broncos endured their worst season last year and Thaiday's plight epitomised much of what was wrong at Red Hill.

Despite helping Queensland to another State of Origin series win and Australia to World Cup victory while playing in the back-row, Thaiday was asked to play prop for much of the NRL season.

Thaiday clearly struggled with the front-row role and one of the game's best edge runners was clearly frustrated to be playing a ball-carting role.

A lesser character might have conjured up a Josh Dugan-style meltdown and exited the club. But such is Thaiday's love for the Broncos, he battled on.

When it was suggested to him last month he might have to relinquish the Broncos' captaincy in 2015 if Cameron Smith joined the club, Thaiday bristled somewhat before insisting he enjoyed the role he took over from Darren Lockyer two seasons ago.

"I'm enjoying the captaincy ... you have to be captain sometimes when it is bad ... you have to be captain sometimes when it is good," he told AAP at the time.

With Corey Parker and Justin Hodges as joint leaders, Thaiday will be left to work solely on his game.

To his credit, Griffin has looked to shake things up.

"I've made those calls, but I haven't made those for any other reason than because I'm a sore loser too and I've got a fierce passion to make sure we've got everything in place to go forward, to be successful," he said on Friday.

Griffin will want to get the very best out of key recruit Ben Barba and hope those calls turn out to be the right ones otherwise the next figurehead making way at Red Hill could be him.


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