Bronco keen to earn World Cup position

BRONCOS prop Ben Hannant has a lot on his mind.

After missing eight weeks during the season with a calf problem, the 28-year-old said he was desperate to play for the Prime Minister's XIII against Papua New Guinea on Sunday week in a bid to prove his fitness for the World Cup in October.

It has been a tough year for Hannant - he missed out on playing Origin for the Maroons because of the injury, and the proud Broncos club missed the finals for just the second time in its history.

Given those disappointments, Hannant said he was prepared to do everything he could to get back into the representative arena after taking last week off that is.

"I bought an air rifle so I could go camping and hunting with the kids out at Condamine," he said.

"The kids love it out there. I've taken them to Fiji, but they prefer going out west and camping."

Hannant is now back home gunning for a Kangaroos jersey, the trade-off for the injury being his body isn't as battered and bruised as those players who have played the entire season.

"Having eight weeks off during the year means I feel fresh, and if I get picked for Australia I'll be ready and excited," he said.

The former Bulldog also said he hoped the injury sustained by departing Canterbury star Ben Barba in Sunday's elimination final loss to Newcastle did not affect his contribution to the Broncos next season.

"He's a good guy. I was great mates with him during my time at the Bulldogs," Hannant said. "He's a top-shelf player and he can win us some games."

The front-rower also said he did not want to be drawn on a premiership tip for this year's finals series, but said after watching the Rabbitohs and Roosters throw everything at each other in round 26, "I think both those teams are in with a real chance".

Hannant, rumoured to be considering a move to the Gold Coast in 2015, maintained he was committed to the final year of his contract at the Broncos next season.

Match review news

THE clubs still involved in the NRL finals received good news from the match review committee yesterday.

Newcastle's Matt Hilder was the only player charged, hit with a grade one careless high tackle charge for his high shot on Bulldogs forward Mitch Brown. Hilder will be free to play against the Storm on Saturday night with an early guilty plea.

Bulldogs captain Michael Ennis was also charged for a careless high tackle but will be free to play the first game of 2014 with an early plea.

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