Brisbane coach Wayne Bennett has come out swinging in support of under-fire veteran Sam Thaiday, guaranteeing he won't be dropped this NRL season.
Thaiday is in the final year of his Broncos contract and has been criticised for his early-season form with some suggesting he should walk away from the game immediately.
However, Bennett said he would not send the 16-season veteran back to the Queensland Cup and he would remain in his top 17.
"Sam is a bit like Anthony Milford and Kodi Nikorima; nothing's going to change this season for Sam," Bennett said.
"He'll be in the NRL squad week after week regardless of how we're playing."
Bennett admitted he had made a selection blunder when he started Thaiday at hooker during their round one thumping at the hands of St George Illawarra.
Thaiday, 32, was last year axed by both Queensland and Australia as his career begins to wind down.
On the eve of last year's finals the former Broncos skipper revealed that 2018 would be his last but went back on that earlier this year when he said he could yet seek another season.
"He's been a wonderful servant for his club," Bennett said.
"We didn't give him another year so he could play in the state comp with Norths or anyone.
"It's just not going to happen and Sam's got a lot to offer this team, he just got himself a little bit lost the other night."
Former Broncos and Queensland winger Chris Walker this week told the Queensland Rugby League website that Thaiday should consider retiring immediately.
Bennett bristled at the suggestion.
"Chris should have retired a long time before he did so he's speaking from experience," Bennett said.