Hoffman ready for NSW call-up
He hasn’t played State of Origin in four years, but Melbourne veteran Ryan Hoffman says he’s ready to answer the call if required for NSW.
The make-up of the Blues back-row for the series decider was left uncertain on Monday night after incumbent Glenn Stewart injured his knee in Manly’s 26-22 loss to Melbourne at Brookvale Oval.
He seems an unlikely starter for the July 4 encounter, and on the other end of the field Hoffman could not have done a better job to impress NSW coach Ricky Stuart.
“I’m always hopeful and I know I’m confident in my ability to do the job if called upon,” said Hoffman, who returned to the NRL this season after one year in Super League.
“I knew it was going to take a bit to get used to the NRL but I worked really hard in the pre-season and gave myself the best opportunity.”
He came up with two crucial defensive plays, one to deny Brett Stewart a try and another which should have denied Daly Cherry-Evans a four-pointer only for a dubious video referee decision.
It was those sorts of plays which coach Craig Bellamy said would stand him in good stead with selectors.
“If Glenn does miss out I don’t think they could find anyone better than Hoff,” Bellamy said.
” I think the last five or six weeks he’s been outstanding – he plays 80 minutes, he runs good lines, he defends well, he’s obviously experienced.”
Hoffman admitted to being a little bemused by the awarding of Cherry-Evans’ try, where it was ruled he stripped the ball from his grasp.
“It didn’t even cross my mind (that it might be a try),” Hoffman said.
“And then while they’re looking at it Smithy (skipper Cameron Smith) goes to me ‘remember Origin, they’re going to give this.’
“The precedent’s been set and at least the referees are consistent.”© AAP 2013