There’s been a lot of people worrying about the Blues team, given the injuries to Brett Stewart and Brett Morris the past few days.
But why all the worry? Have they not looked at the depth we’ve got in NSW?
Given the two Bretts are highly unlikely to play at least the first Origin, obviously Blues coach Laurie Daley is going to have to reassess the make-up of his backline.
But it’s not like he has limited options.
Jarryd Hayne will now be a walk-up starter as fullback and as for the wingers, he’s got players like Akuila Uate, Blake Ferguson, Nathan Merritt, even young Jorge Taufua from Manly could come into the frame.
I know it’s a shame for Morris and Stewart because they would probably have been walk-up starters, but we do have plenty of depth there.
I’d be much more worried if Paul Gallen and James Tamou went down at the same time.
Hayne at fullback is a no-brainer to me now, and if I was selecting the team from the outset, I would have had him there in the first place.
Stewart is a quality player but he’s had a chronic knee injury for a long time now and you can’t afford that sort of stuff in an Origin camp.
Knights man Akuila Uate. Picture: RYAN OSLANDIt’s hard for him to train and do everything with the rest of the guys and when you’ve got a 10-day camp for an Origin encounter, you want and need everyone in it together.
You don’t want one or two players on minimal training schedules to nurse their injuries through – you need fit guys who can participate in everything the coach wants.
Hayne is the type of player who could win you an Origin series. That’s how good he is.
He just needs that energy boost before a game.
I know he looks lazy sometimes and that he’s not interested, but the past couple of weeks he’s been chasing everything down, he’s been playing with a renewed enthusiasm and that’s great to see so close to Origin.
I don’t know what Eels coach Ricky Stuart says to him before games sometimes but the past few weeks, it’s certainly been working.
I would love to see Laurie think outside the square and give someone like Taufua a chance on a wing in Origin.
I know he’s only 21 and played only 30-odd games but he’s a big, strong, powerful brute of a bloke who would fit perfectly into the Origin arena.
Don’t go soft on hits
Rugby league is heading down a very narrow path towards becoming too soft, and it worries me.
I was surprised and disappointed when Steve Matai (pictured above, well contained by the Rabbitohs defence) copped a week’s suspension for his hit on George Burgess a fortnight ago.
I understand he has a long rap sheet but his tackle hit the ball and then bounced up.
You can’t ban all the hard hits in our game. People go to matches to see blokes taking each other on.
If you take that fabric out of the contest and suddenly players are too scared to go in hard for fear of punishment, you’re going to get more injuries as well.
Don’t take the confrontation out of the game, please!
Rugby league will become two-handed touch and who wants to watch that? No-one.
Accidents happen, blokes will get hurt and need stitches and whatever else but that’s all part of the game.
We all know that before we sign up to play.
If you hit someone illegally, sure, you’ll get a few weeks and you’ve got to cop that, but just don’t go making our great game soft.
One rule for Dugan
I applaud the Dragons adding Josh Dugan (above)to their books, whenever it officially happens.
But I don’t think placing all these different stipulations on the kid like you’re barred from Facebook and you’re barred from social media or whatever and we’ll punish you is the way to go.
The contract should simply say that if you want to embrace that sort of stuff, fine, but you won’t be playing with us.
No ifs, no buts.
Simply put, no anything.
Just one hard and fast rule for the youngster.
Josh will be a great asset to the Dragons.
The kid can play and once he gets rid of all the crap from his life, he’ll be an even better player.
Kudos to the Dragons for giving him another chance.
You can’t blame the Canberra Raiders for giving him the flick but it’s good the Dragons will pick him up and hopefully get him back on the right path.
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