Shaun Johnson has welcomed the quick turnaround the Vodafone Warriors face for their second-round NRL clash against Brisbane at Suncorp Stadium on Friday (7.05pm kick-off local time; 10.05pm NZT).
The Broncos have an eight-day gap after beating Parramatta 17-4 in the opening match of the season last Thursday while the Vodafone Warriors have just six days – and two trans-Tasman trips – after losing 26-34 to Wests Tigers on Saturday.
The players returned yesterday and have just one training day at home tomorrow, a rest day on Wednesday and then a travel day to Brisbane on Thursday where they’ll have a closed final training run ahead of the match.
“In a way it’s positive. We get a chance to get out there and don’t have to wait too long to give ourselves a chance to right our wrongs,” Johnson told Vodafone Warriors TV.
“We’ll get home and recover. I think that’s the most important thing right now and then we’ll look forward to building into Brisbane, which is going to be an awesome atmosphere on Friday night.”
Sharing the entire team’s disappointment following the loss to the Tigers – and particularly the first half effort – Johnson found some positives in the second half display but said vast improvement would be needed to compete with the Broncos.
“We’re certainly going to have to be a lot better,” he said.
“They weren’t near the top of the ladder without reason last year and the way they played (against the Eels last week) to open their season was pretty clinical.
“There’s no way we can turn the ball over like we did. Possession and completing sets is going to go a long way towards getting a result.”
Johnson said second rower Ben Henry’s devastating injury had deeply affected the whole team.
“We’re gutted for Benny,” he said.
“He’s a team-mate and a good friend who I have played with for a few years now. To see him go through what he has and then to see this happen, I’m really gutted for him.
“He’s one of the nicest guys I know and the team hold him up there. We’ll get around him.”
Friday’s clash will the 37th between the Vodafone Warriors and Brisbane; the Broncos have a 21-15 advantage since the first contest on March 10, 1995.