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The Blues have halves blues

Mitchell Pearce is not a redemption story - not yet, anyway. (AAP Image/Dan Himbrechts)
Roar Guru
21st April, 2014
76
1709 Reads

There’s been a lot of discussion on The Roar lately around the Blues’ halves pairing. Let’s firstly put things into perspective. Since the 2006 State of Origin the Blues selectors have selected the following…

  • Nine different five-eighthhs: Braith Anasta (5 games), Mark Gasnier (1), Greg Bird (3), Terry Campese (1), Trent Barrett (4), Jamie Lyon (1), Jamie Soward (3), Todd Carney (3) and James Maloney (3).
  • Six different halfbacks: Brett Finch (2), Craig Gower (1), Jarrod Mullen (1), Brett Kimmorley (4), Peter Wallace (4), and Mitchell Pearce (12).
  • 15 different halves combinations: Finch / Anasta (2), Gower / Gasnier (1), Mullen / Anasta (1), Kimmorley / Anasta (1), Kimmorley / Bird (1), Wallace / Bird (2), Pearce / Anasta (1), Wallace / Campese (1), Wallace / Barrett (1), Kimmorley / Barrett (1), Kimmorley / Lyon (1), Pearce / Barrett (2), Pearce / Soward (3), Pearce / Carney (3), Pearce / Maloney (3).

The third point is the most glaring – to have used 15 different halves combinations in 24 matches shows the Blues selectors are as indecisive as Imelda Marcos at a Myer shoe rack.

Given their track record (especially over the past three years), I’m expecting Laurie Daley and Co. to go with a brand new halves combination this year – after all, we’ve already combined Pearce with Anasta (too old), Barrett (retired), Soward (too one-dimensional), Carney (I like him but for some reason the selectors don’t) and Maloney (in poor form).

Given Pearce has already been selected, this year we’ll either him teamed with John Sutton, Adam Reynolds or Mullen. Given it’s a three game series, perhaps we’ll see all three!

In contrast, Johnathan Thurston has played all 24 games since 2006, of which 16 were at halfback and 8 at pivot. The other halves in those 24 matches were Darryn Lockyer (15 games), Cooper Cronk (6), Scott Prince (2) and Karmichael Hunt (1).

That signifies seriously significant stability, so my solution is to get one of the activist groups like change.org or Getup to organise a petition asking Mal Meninga to select an alternative halves pairing this year. I’m thinking Sam Thaiday at five-eighth and Dave Taylor at number 7 (Taylor has a handy grubber, so it shouldn’t be too much of a stretch).

I reckon if we can get…oh, 3 million signatures we should be able to force a change prior to Game 1.

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