Anthon Griffin has distanced suggestions of a grudge match as he goes toe-to-toe against his old club and successor Wayne Bennett.
Griffin was in charge at the Broncos for four seasons before Wayne Bennett returned to the club following stints with Newcastle and St George Illawarra, but the current Panthers coach holds the Broncos stalwart in high esteem.
“Like any other coach, you’ve got a lot of respect for them. I’ve got no issues there at all and never have,” Griffin stated.
He added, “It’s nice to be going back to Brisbane…I obviously spent a lot of time there and I’ve got a lot of good friends in the team.”
After his spell at the Broncos and history coaching against Bennet-led sides, Griffin knows the task ahead for his side.
“Brisbane are never going to give up, they’ve always got a try in them, they’ve got a lot of individual brilliance [and] if a team’s not going well they can just find some points out of nothing,” said Griffin.
“But the biggest thing about playing Brisbane is that they’re never going to give up, they’re never going to give you anything easy so you’ve got to have a really solid eighty minutes in you.”
The Broncos have been dealt a blow with Bennett ruling out his captain Darius Boyd after failing to satisfy their medical staff in their final training session. However, Griffin is all too aware of the quality in the Brisbane ranks to replace their custodian.
“They’ve been playing without him at other periods during the year and they’ve got some quality players there to come in – (Benji) Marshall and (Kodi) Nikorima,” he said.
“I don’t think it’s that big of a disruption for them.”
Griffin added, “We’ll still prepare as if he’s going to be there but if he’s not then that’s something we’ve spoken about and had a look at anyway.”
“They’re (Nikorima and Boyd) different types of players. Nikorima is probably a lot better at finding a line break on his own…he’s a lethal runner of the football.
“They’ve both got their strengths and weaknesses.”