Hooked on the big stage
ANTHONY “Hook” Griffin may have been calm and relaxed yesterday, but by 7.30pm tonight he'll well and truly be in the NRL coaching hot seat.
The Rockhampton mentor makes his NRL coaching debut today at the helm of arguably Australia's biggest sporting club – the Brisbane Broncos.
Like thousands of other Central Queenslanders, Griffin has eagerly looked forward to today's start of the 2011 NRL season.
Yesterday Griffin said he was looking forward to tonight's clash between his young Broncos side and the North Queensland Cowboys at what's expected to be a packed Suncorp Stadium.
He certainly didn't sound like a man carrying the weight of expectation of the Broncos' massive following on his shoulders.
“I'm not really nervous at the moment,” Griffin said.
“Like everyone else I'm excited that the footy season is about to start.
“I'm sure (on game day) I will be nervous and anxious like anyone else would be.”
He said he wasn't a coach who adopted any particular game-day rituals or superstitions.
“My mum and dad and a couple of family members are coming down from Rockhampton so I'm looking forward to catching up with them,” Griffin said.
“They'll come over in the afternoon and say ‘hello' and I hope to see them after the game.”
Earlier this week Griffin said he knew all eyes would be on him tonight, but he wasn't putting too much emphasis on the result.
“It will be like any other result,” Griffin said.
“It's a 24-week season. We want to get away to a great start as do the Cowboys, but we won't be living and dying by Friday night's result.
“Everyone wants to win round one because you've been training and trialling for so long, but it won't be the end of world if we don't get the result.”
Brisbane CEO and former Rockhampton man Paul White insists Griffin's job is safe for the coming season, as speculation mounts the club is paving the way for the return of founder-coach Wayne Bennett in 2012.
White said Griffin would launch his NRL coaching career free of pressure or the fear of being dumped mid-season should the Broncos struggle.
“We've got a coach for 2011 and he's the guy we want,” White said.
Anthony “Hook” Griffin
Head coach, Brisbane Broncos
Previous appointments: Broncos coaching staff 2009, Redcliffe Colts 95-97,
Brisbane Norths Colts 98-00, Melbourne Storm assistant 01-02, Souths Logan Qld
Cup 03-04, Redcliffe Qld Cup 05-07
Coaching achievements: Broncos NYC Grand Finalists 2008. Redcliffe Qld Cup
Premiers 06, Grand finalists 07. Three Qld Colts premierships 97 (Redcliffe) 98 and
00 (Norths). Coached Qld under-17s (1998) and Qld Residents (2007)
Playing record: Brisbane Brothers 1985-87, Rockhampton Brothers 1988-92