By Alicia Newton (NRL.com)
Wayne Bennett praised the work of the interchange bench for turning the screws in the second half to help steer the Broncos to a 24-20 victory over the Rabbitohs at ANZ Stadium on Thursday night.
But the victory could come at a loss, with Josh McGuire in a moon-boot post-game with a possible Achilles/ankle issue according to Bennett, who also hooked prop Matt Lodge early in the first half for being “off his game.”
McGuire left the paddock in the 47th minute after a routine hit-up and failed to return, sparking the emergence of NRL debutant Payne Haas and utility Kodi Nikorima to relish off the back of a 60 per cent possession rate in the second half.
Along with Haas, Korbin Sims and Joe Ofahengaue made inroads during the crunch stages of the clash – each with more than 100 metres in long stints.
“The interchange was good for us tonight. Korbin is a bit older than the other boys but they did their job really well,” Bennett said.
“We needed them tonight with those injuries. I knew we could score if we held the ball.”
Haas was particularly impressive, churning out 86 metres from nine carries in a 21-minute stint.
“He wasn’t bad for a first time,” Bennett quipped.
“You’ve got to get your kids ready at some stage. You’ve got to start the process. Obviously Payne’s going to be an NRL player, hopefully for a long period of time.
“It’s just about getting them into the game and how you do that. I try to manage that as well as I can because I don’t want them to get ahead of themselves.
“At the same time I want them to handle it as well. He’s been in the state league for a while and will play a few weeks on the interchange bench then we’ll make another decision on what we should do.”
But that was where it ended for Bennett talking up the boom 18-year-old any further.
“If I start you 60 minutes into a game you could probably do that too,” Bennett joked to a reporter.
“It counts when he starts a game, see how many metres he gets then.”
Article originally published at: https://www.qrl.com.au/news/20182/04/272/haas-stands-tall-as-mcguire-adds-to-injury-worries/