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NSW Blues playmakers overlooked Roar Rookie

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    Five of the Blues most talented ball players Jarryd Hayne, Todd Carney, Jarrod Mullen, Jamal Idris and Robbie Farah have been left out of Origin I, as coach Ricky Stuart cements his game plan that will rely on a bomb disposal expert he once sacked.

    NSW State of Origin Team 2011 for Game 1:
    1. Josh Dugan, 2. Brett Morris, 3. Mark Gasnier, 4. Michael Jennings, 5. Akuila Uate, 6. Jamie Soward, 7. Mitchell Pearce, 8. Jason King, 9. Michael Ennis, 10. Kade Snowden, 11. Beau Scot, 12. Greg Bird, 13. Paul Gallen (C), 14. Ben Creagh, 15. Trent Merrin, 16. Tim Mannah, 17. Dean Young. Coach Ricky Stuart.

    Likely Queensland Team: 1. Billy Slater, 2. Darius Boyd, 3. Greg Inglis, 4. Willie Tonga, 5. Jharal Yow Yeh, 6. Darren Lockyer (C), 7. Johnathan Thurston, 8. Matt Scott, 9. Cameron Smith, 10. Petero Civoniceva, 11. Sam Thaiday, 12. Nate Myles, 13. Ashley Harrison. Bench: 14. Cooper Cronk, 15. Ben Hannant, 16. Corey Parker, 17. Jacob Lillyman, 18, Dallas Johnson. Coach Mal Meninga

    The Blues have selected flyer Michael Jennings over big Jamal Idris or Josh Morris. The Maroons are forced to replace the luckless Hodges on the right side with Willie Tonga, who bagged two tries playing on the left side for the Cowboys last Saturday night.

    I applaud the Blues selectors for giving Josh Dugan his chance at fullback, but how can they expect to beat the Maroons when they cannot find a place in the remaining 16 spots for Jarryd Hayne, regarded by most professionals as being in the top five players in the world?

    Hayne is so big and athletic that he could play almost any position. He already has experience at fullback, center, wing and pivot and would have no problems slotting in as a running back rower off the bench.

    There is no question in my mind that the NSW blue print for success will be to use Jamie Soward’s pin point kicks to score trys from bombs. Soward is a master at putting up a high kick and making it land just before the try line and it is no coincidence that every member in the Blues backline are outstanding in the air.

    Jamie Soward would have been licking his chops at the thought of bombing to the Bulldog giant Jamal Idris who is almost unstoppable in a contested jump, but surprisingly he is left out.

    Soward will have a feast of riches for possible jumping backs to convert his kicks even without Idris including new fullback Dugan, the exciting wingmen Akuila Uate and Brett Morris and Mark Gasnier, who scored that memorable try off a Soward kick in last year’s Grand Final.

    The Blues may well have the best tactical kicker, but the Maroons have the best players in the crucial spine positions of 1, 6,7 and 9. Those tactical positions touch the ball more than anyone else and no team in history has ever been able to boast a better spine than Billy Slater, Darryn Lockyer, Jonathan Thurston and Cam Smith.

    • Slater Arguably the best fullback ever to play Rugby League.
    • Lockyer A genuine living legend, still in great form.
    • Thurston The best player in the world at present
    • Smith Arguably the best hooker forward of all time.

    Blues coach Ricky Stuart has said that he is trying to build a NSW team “for the future”, yet his two most talented players Todd Carney (24) and Jarryd Hayne (23) were overlooked in the selection room.

    It seems to be the popular consensus that Todd Carney cannot be selected as he has been a “bad boy” and Jamie Soward is a clean skin. The fact is that good or bad; Carney played for his club the Roosters on Sunday and realistically is the closest human the Blues have to Thurston in sheer talent.

    The folly of this argument is that Soward now appears as the trump card for the Blues, but the fact remains that he cannot do what a switched on Todd Carney can do.

    Soward was originally not wanted by Ricky Stuart when he coached him at the Roosters and managed to find greener pastures at the Dragons when Nathan Brown signed him and now Wayne Bennett has made him into his clubs most wanted man.

    The biggest challenge for a Soward and Pearce combination is that both prefer to play on the right side of the field abd the Maroons have a proven Lockyer and Thurston who know each other’s game well.

    The Blues will use the bad mouthed Mick Ennis as hooker with Dean Young and have not listed Tiger Robbie Farah.

    History tells us that the Maroons will score around 24 points and Farah is the standout attacking hooker in NSW. He can also play halfback and pivot and there is a strong argument as to why he could have been used off the bench.

    Blues halfback Mitch Pearce commented after playing for City Origin that the service that he received from Farah made a huge difference to how well he played. Clearly the City v Country clash has been a waste of time.

    Ennis and Young are up against the best ever in Cam Smith and it is doubtful if Farah being overlooked will upset Maroon coach Mal Meninga.

    Co-selector Bozo Fulton, a Manly legend, could only influence prop Jason King to gain selection. It appears that Anthony Watmough has paid the penalty for being a serial pest and disruptive in camp, while Glenn Stewart was overlooked for tough guy Beau Scott, who also is comfortable “baby sitting” Soward in defence. Stewart was not considered an ideal impact player off the bench.

    The Maroons are travelling that well they can afford to leave the exciting Ben Barba out although he could have covered more positions than Cooper Cronk who had the support of influential team mates Smith and Slater.

    Mal Meninga’s biggest concern is that his champion left center Greg Inglis is passed fit to play. With Israel Folau gone to AFL, Justin Hodges and Brent Tate injured, Queensland have been forced to again use Willie Tonga which will present a likely target for Jamal Idris and Josh Dugan to run at as he is suspect laterally.

    The center cupboard is bare if Inglis is not cleared with selectors looking to Bronco babes Jack Reed and Gerard Beale.

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    The Crowd Says (46)

    • May 15th 2011 @ 6:10pm
      Jason Cave said | May 15th 2011 @ 6:10pm | ! Report

      You can put down another 3-0 series win to Queensland, seeing that the NSW Blues have left out talented players such as Hayne, Mullen, Farah and Carney, just to name a few. And Game 1 is the most important game in the whole of a State of Origin series.


      Since the State of Origin went to a 3-game series in 1982, 70% of the time a team-whether it’s NSW or Queensland-that has won Game 1 of a State of Origin series have gone on to win the title.

      And this is what NSW appears to be doing with their selections, virtually handing game 1 to Queensland on a platter. Qld coach Mal Meninga must think all his Christmases had come at once.

      • Roar Guru

        May 15th 2011 @ 6:49pm said | May 15th 2011 @ 6:49pm | ! Report

        I can see some logic with some of the outs but not Idris.
        NSW have the best kicker in the NRL in Soward and could have had the best jumper in Idris.

      • Roar Guru

        May 15th 2011 @ 6:53pm
        peeeko said | May 15th 2011 @ 6:53pm | ! Report

        i can only agree with farah, he possesses the ball playing skills similar to Smith that Ennis lacks. As for mullen and hayne, i cant agree that they are more talented than soward and dugan. a fully fit and in form carney is a must but to select him at this stage would be a massive gamble

        • Roar Guru

          May 15th 2011 @ 7:12pm
 said | May 15th 2011 @ 7:12pm | ! Report

          I thought Carney was outstanding today is a poorly beaten side. he is clearly the closest thing NSW have to Thurston.

    • May 15th 2011 @ 6:16pm
      db swannie said | May 15th 2011 @ 6:16pm | ! Report

      Firstly Scott have named ball players who have missed out ,fair point..but you have Idris in that group…He is as much a ball player as i am Prime Minister.
      Then you go onto say that he is going to be running at Tonga…Bit hard to do when he isn’t in the team.
      I just dont get all the hype around him…he is a good centre ,but rep…& i think the NSW selectors were wise to leave him out.

      • Roar Guru

        May 15th 2011 @ 7:14pm said | May 15th 2011 @ 7:14pm | ! Report

        He may still get in.
        Not sure if Jennings will pass fit.
        I think Idris is a star and will be for 10 years. His ability in the air would have been a problem for Qld.

      • Roar Guru

        May 15th 2011 @ 7:21pm said | May 15th 2011 @ 7:21pm | ! Report

        to be honest with you, I wrote the story at lunch time and had to quickly change it when Idris was left out as I had him in. You are correct he is not a ball player but maybe one day.

    • May 15th 2011 @ 7:10pm
      sheek said | May 15th 2011 @ 7:10pm | ! Report


      Hayne might be a great player, but from what I see, he’s not a great team man. Great individual players aren’t much help in the long run unless they can interract with theit team mates, both on & off the field. So Hayne gets the boot.

      Concensus among my workmates is that the Blues won’t get within cooee of the Maroons. It’ll be a case of the game being there for Qld to lose, rather than NSW being good enough to win on merit.

      • Roar Guru

        May 15th 2011 @ 7:16pm said | May 15th 2011 @ 7:16pm | ! Report

        I am already on Qld at 1.65 to win series and I can tell you that I am happy Idris and Hayne are not playing.
        If Carney was good enough to play today then he should have been in.

    • May 15th 2011 @ 7:40pm
      BennO said | May 15th 2011 @ 7:40pm | ! Report

      Don’t have time to comment in detail but it seems to me he’s picked a team full of team players. Farah, Hayne, Carney they are all brilliant individually but don’t play like a cog in a team I don’t think. The others seem to play that way. Team oriented play like this won the dragons the premiership.

      • Roar Guru

        May 15th 2011 @ 7:43pm said | May 15th 2011 @ 7:43pm | ! Report

        The Blues have to score close to 30 points to win. Guys like Scott and Young will not assist that process.

        • May 16th 2011 @ 6:33am
          BennO said | May 16th 2011 @ 6:33am | ! Report

          No I’m not disagreeing with you but I see the strategy or sense in Stuart’s selections. He’s clearly going for a type of team and a player to fit in with that. I don’t think it’s a defensive or as dire as everyone is suggesting. Hayne should be in the team regardless I think, but I see what he is trying to do. I think it just might work. People talking like it’s a foregone conclusion, origin is never a foregone conclusion.

          A solid team that plays smart could definitely beat the QLD. The Blues have beaten themselves a few times in the last few years, with dumb but crucial errors at various times.

    • May 15th 2011 @ 8:42pm
      Sam said | May 15th 2011 @ 8:42pm | ! Report

      Jamal Idris has to be the most overrated player in the comp at the moment for mine. He is too lazy, doesn’t put in the extra effort. He has enormous potential and could one day be a great player if he puts in the effort. He was playing better footy last year than he is now. A wise decision to leave him out I think.

      • Roar Guru

        May 15th 2011 @ 9:11pm said | May 15th 2011 @ 9:11pm | ! Report

        He has been playing with injury.
        NSW cannot beat QLand with an even bounce so they need guys like Idris with that X factor.
        I think Meninga will be happy with the NSW team.
        I understand where u are coming from, but NSW have been down this path and it doesn’t work.

    • May 15th 2011 @ 8:55pm
      yewonk said | May 15th 2011 @ 8:55pm | ! Report

      the point is they chose jennings over him jamal has tries, meters and tackles over jennings. ricky is afool not a thinker. good team as a queensland supporter

      • Roar Guru

        May 15th 2011 @ 9:49pm said | May 15th 2011 @ 9:49pm | ! Report

        Ricky was the best tactical kicker I have ever seen play Rugby League but as a coach he is very limited. His last 2 years at the Roosters and the Sharks he had a 25% win record.
        he continues to get rails runs in his coaching life.

        • May 16th 2011 @ 7:43am
          mjpt said | May 16th 2011 @ 7:43am | ! Report

          Solid point-armchair ride for a while. His performance after the world cup 2008 was disgraceful. It was not us seeing another side to Stuart-it was only him becoming more like himself. Think hard and he has had an armchair ride as a player as well-Daley at 6, Mal at 3, Clyde at 13, Belcher at 1, Walters at 9. Thats 5 hall of fame credentialed players. He and Alf swapped the 7 roles depending on the coaches whim.

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