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Weary Broncos grateful for NRL break

Brisbane coach Anthony Griffin believes an NRL bye is the chance for his struggling Broncos to re-ignite their sputtering season.
Weary Broncos grateful for NRL break
by AAP

By Ed Jackson

GOLD COAST, Qld, July 13 AAP - Brisbane coach Anthony Griffin believes an NRL bye is the chance for his struggling Broncos to re-ignite their sputtering season.

Brisbane fell to a 19-18 defeat at home on Friday against a Todd Carney-inspired Cronulla to leave them three wins out of the top eight with just seven matches remaining.

Griffin's position has come under increasing pressure with the Broncos now having won once in their past seven games and in danger of missing out on finals football for just the second time in 21 seasons.

Josh Hoffman's second-half try to opening the scoring for the Sharks ended a 167-minute points drought for the Broncos, with halves pairing Peter Wallace and Scott Prince also facing criticism for their inability to turn pressure into points this season.

Injuries and State of Origin commitments have also played their part and Griffin is hoping next weekend's bye will enable the team to take on their remaining fixtures with a renewed vigour.

"It'll give us an opportunity to freshen up," he said.

"Hopefully we'll get Ben Hannant back, get the Origin players through and regroup.

"The last three weeks there hasn't been any lack of effort. It's not a matter of trying to find a secret, it's just a matter of freshening up and getting ready to go again."

Front-rower Hannant hasn't played since injuring a calf in May and was a late scratching from the Sharks clash.

Griffin believes the 28-year-old should be fit to play in the round 20 clash against North Queensland in Townsville on July 26, when the Broncos Origin stars Justin Hodges, Corey Parker, Sam Thaiday and Matt Gillett also to return.

"He's close," Griffin said on Hannant.

"He's just a calf that just keeps on giving him some problems and a big guy like that, he just can't play while it's injured.

"Hopefully he'll be right for Cowboys at this stage."


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