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12 hours ago - 4 Likes
A resurgent Shane Webcke has vowed to step up and guide Brisbane into the National Rugby League finals in the absence of injured stars Gorden Tallis and Darren Lockyer.
While Australia was basking in the glory of its 48-6 shellacking of New Zealand on Saturday night, the Broncos were counting the cost of the demanding representative season after Tallis became the club's latest big name to find himself facing an extended stint on the sidelines.
Tallis suffered a grade two medial tear in his right knee and will be out for up to six weeks.
The Brisbane skipper's untimely layoff follows the sorry news that Lockyer might not be back on deck until the finals after tearing ankle ligaments.
Tallis modestly claimed his injury wasn't such a big deal to the Broncos, who probably needed to win five of their last seven games to be certain of clinching a top-four finals berth and a home final.
"I don't think it (my absence) is bad news for the Broncos. The club's bigger than any player that ever plays for them," Tallis said, the second rower's leg in a splint to keep his knee intact.
"They'll probably miss Darren Lockyer more than they'll miss me.
"I look at the positives - and myself and Locky can go rest on Hamilton Island for a month or do something like that."
Webcke, though, conceded the Broncos would do it tough without their two leaders.
But the 28-year-old warhorse promised to give his all if, as expected, coach Wayne Bennett handed him the captaincy arm band.
"Whatever happens, I just know how much we'll miss those two blokes," he said after collecting the Kangaroos' man-of-the-match award against the bludgeoned Kiwis.
"Particularly now, it's a time of the year that we really want to consolidate our position and get some wins on the board and it's going to be difficult without them now. Not only without them playing, but for their leadership they give us.
"And I doubt I'm up to what they do, but I'll have a lash, bugger it."
After a slow start to the season, Webcke, widely regarded as the game's premier prop, believes he has run into a purple patch of form.
He's determined to make the most of it.
"Apart from the first six or seven weeks of the year, when I thought I played pretty poorly, I've been pretty happy since," he said.
"It's one of these rare patches of footy that sometimes you get into and might pick up a man-of-the-match award, which I rarely do.
You don't know when it's going to end and you don't know why it started, but you just hope it runs for a while and I'll enjoy it while I can."