Thaiday won’t stop dreaming
SAM Thaiday refuses to give up on a fairytale farewell as the Broncos veteran faces the prospect of an early NRL exit.
The Broncos are battling in 10th spot on the ladder heading into Thursday night's crucial showdown against South Sydney at ANZ Stadium.
After starting the season with a 3-4 record, Brisbane is no certainty of making the finals and has a mighty task to climb into the all-important top four.
Thaiday, 32, is in the final year of a 16-season career at Red Hill which included playing in Brisbane's 2006 premiership team.
He will make his 287th NRL appearance, keeping him in contention to join the exclusive 300-game club, and has been guaranteed his spot in the team for the remainder of the season by coach Wayne Bennett.
However, Thaiday's dreams of finishing his NRL career with a fairytale premiership could disappear if the Broncos do not kick into gear.
Former captain Justin Hodges finished his NRL career in Brisbane's heartbreaking 2015 grand final loss to North Queensland.
And Thaiday said he had accepted that his last season at the Broncos may not end with a second NRL title.
"Fairytales are very rare in our game," Thaiday told The Courier-Mail.
"I'm really trying hard at the moment to make sure the body is right and tick a few boxes away from footy so I can make sure I give the boys my best every week. That's all I can do.
"If we put ourselves in a position then who knows what can happen.
I know it's a long, tough slog this whole NRL season.
"We've been a little bit down this year on some of our performances but we're not out of any race at the moment.
"I think it (feelings of final season) will kick in a little bit more come the end of the year. At the moment I'm just trying to make sure I enjoy my footy and have fun."
The Broncos have struggled to find consistency in a season cruelled by injuries.
Star playmakers Darius Boyd (hamstring), Anthony Milford (shoulder) and Andrew McCullough (knee) had limited pre-seasons while Test forward Matt Gillett is sidelined for three months with a broken neck.
Coach Wayne Bennett has rarely been in this predicament at the Broncos and admitted he was not thrilled with Brisbane's position.
"I'm not feeling great, but at least we are playing decent football," he said.
"If we kept playing like the week we played the Titans (lost 26-14) I'd be in a coma by now.
"We haven't done that. We've picked our act up since then. We're heading in the right direction.
"(Competition) points are important, but they're not that important at the moment.
"What's important is we start to get our game back together and start to play the quality of football we're capable of playing. The rest will look after itself."
Thaiday and captain Boyd are the only players remaining from the club's 2006 premiership team which was coached by Bennett.
The Broncos were not far off the pace in last week's 34-20 loss to Melbourne in what was a high-quality contest.
They will miss hooker McCullough (elbow), replaced by lock Josh McGuire, for the next month, but with the unpredictable nature of the NRL Thaiday believes Brisbane can fight back into the top eight.
"This competition this year, it's a weird kind of season," he said. "There is still a lot of opportunity for ourselves to push.
"We just have to make sure we can string a few good games together in a row to get some wins.
"That will definitely boost our confidence and help us with what we want to do at the end of the year."