MAN of the match Josh Hoffman was stopped by a club official from answering a question about the club’s links with rival fullback Ben Barba in a dramatic aftermath to Brisbane’s win over Parramatta.
On a day which started with Fairfax reporting Barba’s request for a release had become formalised, Hoffman the one shining light in a mediocre clash at Suncorp Stadium that saw the Broncos keep their campaign alive with a 22-12 victory.
But television reporters said Hoffman was dragged away by a club official after being asked about the Barba situation, although the timing of the intervention could have been co-incidental.
“Massive issues post match in @brisbanebroncos dressing room,” Channel Seven reporter Ben Davis Tweeted.
“Club officials pull Man-o-match Josh Hoffman mid intv”
Nine and Seven are expected to on Saturday show footage of media manager James Hinchey grabbing Hoffman by the shoulder and leading him away in the middle of the media opportunity.
Hoffman has spent most of the season on the wing and the club has reportedly courted fullbacks Josh Dugan, Barba and Milford in recent times. Coach Anthony Griffin said he could understand fans wondering why the club needed another fullback.
“I understand that – it would be the same as … I’m the same as everyone else, we ain’t signed anyone,” Griffin told radio Triple M.
“He’s done a great job for us. He’s scored 14 tries on the left wing. He had a great game tonight at fullback, he did a great job for us tonight.”
When asked what the answer was to that question which fans were asking, Griffin answered: “I don’t know. I’m not in the media. People have got to write something. You’re asking the wrong bloke.”
Earlier at the media conference, Griffin said none of the players were under pressure – despite halves Scott Prince and Peter Wallace being told they would likely be in reserve grade if they stayed at the club.
“I don’t know if any of them are under pressure,” he said. “Within our four walls, we’re all content. It’s you guys that aren’t.
“You’re seeing the way they’re playing. Everyone’s playing for each other.”
Asked if he could provide a comment about Barba, Griffin said: “No, I can’t. He’s under contract from Canterbury. You’ll have to ask Des (Hasler).”
One of Hoffman’s heroics was to stop Parramatta superstar in his tracks when he was headed to the line during the second half.
The Eels did not believe Hayne had been seriously injured, despite jarring a knee. Broncos Ben Hunt (cork) and Josh McGuire (knee) were other casualties, albeit minor.
Broncos captain Sam Thaiday said “a better team would have rolled over the top of us” at stages of the match while Griffin was disappointed at the flow of penalties.
“it turns into a game of basketball for the fans, too,” said Griffin. “Everyone is in with a shot.
“Two weeks ago in Newcastle, the penalty count was 2-all. We played about 44 sets against each other.”
Filed for: SYDNEY MORNING HERALD