Blues selection headaches easing for Ricky Stuart
Kangaroos Rugby League player Todd Carney during a training session at Parramatta Stadium. (AAP Image/Dean Lewins)
The annual headaches related to selecting the NSW Blues team are apparently fading. Injuries and form turnarounds are making decisions that much easier for Ricky Stuart.
Kurt Gidley is gone with another injury, meaning a bench spot is open. While this was greeted with despair by Ricky Stuart and the media, the fans – including yours truly – rejoiced in knowing Gidley would not be in the Blues side.
Danny Buderus is another. Despite him not doing anything this season, we were expecting him to be named in the number nine.
Now that Buderus is out, the battle is back to what we are used to: Michael Ennis v Robbie Farah. But on recent form, Robbie must have his nose ahead of the incumbent Ennis and is the frontrunner to be Blues number nine.
Beau Scott is another who was likely to be in the back row, but a player like Tariq Sims will be a handy replacement.
Mitchell Pearce found form in the ANZAC day match and Todd Carney impressed in the huge win for the Sharks over the Raiders. They should be the halves.
Being fit might be only thing stopping Josh Dugan getting the fullback role. Brett Morris and Akulia Uate will be on the wings as they are automatic selections these days.
Josh Morris has been scoring tries and should be there and Jarryd Hayne will be there somewhere.
Gallen will probably be in front row again with Mannah, Tamou, Weyman and young Woods fighting it out for the other couple of places. A mobile back row with Bird, Watmough, Stewart and Lewis is likely too, with big Tony Williams a chance.
Fortunately for the Blues, the team is starting to take shape. The selection headache is not as severe as it was a few weeks ago.