STEVE TURNER: ‘Mr Reliable’ McManus a great pick for battling Blues

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    James McManus has sued the Newcastle Knights. (AAP Image/Paul Miller)

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    The NSW selectors have gone the right way in picking Newcastle winger James McManus for the State of Origin decider on July 17.

    McManus rarely gets the wraps he deserves for his work at the end of the Knights’ backline but it’s fantastic that his ultra-consistent form over the past two seasons has been recognised.

    He is a brilliant finisher with 16 tries already in the NRL this year, he’s safe in the air defensively, and you have to hunt far and wide to find someone as deadly as this guy. Few, if any, wingers have got the better of him in one-on-one confrontations in 2013.

    The Blues will miss the spontaneity that Jarryd Hayne would have brought, but they’ll certainly enjoy having James on board. He is a very tough customer and a ferocious competitor.

    Stats show he has made 50 tackle busts this year for the Knights and many of those have been making the hard metres usually expected of the forwards.

    I warmly applaud his selection. Newcastle’s ‘Mr Reliable’ certainly won’t let anyone down.

    Having said that, I feel for Nathan Merritt who was given his chance in Origin 2 but had one of those games when he probably wished he had stayed in bed.

    There was lots of action out on his wing, and for a number of reasons he was found wanting.

    When I played for NSW, I was also faced with the proposition of stopping a runaway Greg Inglis. I couldn’t, and I’m still feeling the bruises to this day!

    At least Nathan has a blue jumper, that he has so richly deserved with his performances over the years. No one can take that away from him, and the way things are shaping up, he might even collect a premiership ring at the end of the season.

    The Blues team contains no real surprises, and that’s the way it should be going into the decider locked at one-all.

    I notice that Mitchell Pearce says this will be a do-or-die game for him, and I have to agree.

    He has had many chances to pilot NSW to a series win and this shapes as his best one in front of a sell-out crowd on home soil.

    The decider will ultimately come down to how the halves perform for both teams.

    Pearce and Maloney versus Cronk and Thurston. It’s very much a case of challengers versus the champs.

    I’m tipping that the forwards battle will finish even and that it will all come down to the creativity and combination of the halves.

    The Queensland duo has been there and done it on so many occasions, but I have faith in our men who have been doing plenty of great things in the NRL for the Roosters.

    They will need to go even better than that, and I reckon they can.

    Steve Turner
    Steve Turner

    Steve Turner is a retired rugby league player currently employed at the Canterbury Bulldogs as the club's content producer. He is a regular at both ABC Grandstand and Fox Sports News. Steve played 161 NRL games for the Panthers, the Storm and the Bulldogs, as well as one game for the NSW Origin team and one game for City Origin. He played in the 2006, 07, 08 and 09 NRL grand finals. Twitter- @SteveTurner84

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    The Crowd Says (13)

    • July 9th 2013 @ 3:25am
      David said | July 9th 2013 @ 3:25am | ! Report

      Stevie Turner loved as a player but James McManus the right choice please, had his chance and blew it there are better chocies such as Nathan Merrit and Jorge Taufua just to name a couple.

      • July 9th 2013 @ 3:26pm
        DubbleBubble said | July 9th 2013 @ 3:26pm | ! Report

        If anything it was Merrit who blew his chance.

      • July 9th 2013 @ 6:56pm
        Knight Vision said | July 9th 2013 @ 6:56pm | ! Report

        did you even watch the first SOO McManus played in ? Blew it ? how ? He was injured and missed the next 2 games that year. If you choose to have an opinion please make it an informed one

    • July 9th 2013 @ 8:05am
      Alvin Purple said | July 9th 2013 @ 8:05am | ! Report

      I am surprised he is eligible given Scotland are in this year RLWC. Minni cant play for NSW as he elected to play for Italy.

    • July 9th 2013 @ 8:56am
      Steve said | July 9th 2013 @ 8:56am | ! Report

      Couldn’t agree more. And David, had his chance and blew it? He played game one in 2009 and had a season ending injury the following week.

    • July 9th 2013 @ 9:12am
      Monners said | July 9th 2013 @ 9:12am | ! Report

      Minni was ineligible because he already made his delegation to play for Italy. He did this prematurely, I expect because Italy has a friendly against England prior to the WC. As a Knights fan I am very pleased that James has been picked. He knows how to find the line and is great under the high ball both in attack and defense. He makes great reads in defense and is a true competitor. Merritt was under instructions to jam in but I also think he got a bit star struck in defense with Inglis being so close while he was on debut. McManus though is a true competitor and will relish the chance to mark his teammate Boyd.

    • July 9th 2013 @ 5:48pm
      Raugeee said | July 9th 2013 @ 5:48pm | ! Report

      So should we call the Blues the New South Scotsmen?

      • July 10th 2013 @ 11:54am
        Jayden said | July 10th 2013 @ 11:54am | ! Report

        Should we call Queensland QueeNsouthwales?

      • July 16th 2013 @ 1:20pm
        Nico said | July 16th 2013 @ 1:20pm | ! Report

        Please people…get over it!

    • July 10th 2013 @ 5:09am
      NSWelshman said | July 10th 2013 @ 5:09am | ! Report

      One of those few wingers that is more ‘deadly’ & that has got the better of him is Jorge Tafua. Perhaps not as many trys but Tafua has better statistics to his name……..McMannus in brackets.
      Trys 12 (16)
      Line Breaks 23 (17)
      Avg Mtrs 143 (111)
      Hit Ups 192 (193)

      I think your Newcastle bias is shining thru mate. He is good winger yes, he is rugged yes, he deserves a NSW jersey yes………..but to say he is the best option NO!

      • July 10th 2013 @ 10:48pm
        Knight Vision said | July 10th 2013 @ 10:48pm | ! Report

        I would be interested to see how many errors Tafua has made vs McMannus, J Mac has been there done that Tafua has not and to put him in his first SOO in a decider would be foolish.

        • July 16th 2013 @ 1:23pm
          Nico said | July 16th 2013 @ 1:23pm | ! Report

          Concur!!

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