Please tell me NSW won't gamble by playing JarrydHayne at five-eighth this year. Please tell me we'll opt for a recognisedfive-eighth. And please tell me we won't continue picking players out ofposition.
From what I read this week, it seems NSW coachRicky Stuart wants Hayne as his five-eighth for Origin I in Melbourne on May 23.I respect Ricky enormously as a coach but I hope he reconsiders.
For the life of me I cannot work out why he wouldwant to play Hayne at number six. Why play a fullback at five-eighth in thepressure-cooker of State of Origin.
Too often in the past NSW have been burned by picking blokes outside their favoured spots. Even Haynecame forward this week and said such a move would push him out of his comfortzone.
Hayne is a fullback who can play on the wing. Andhe plays brilliantly in those positions. But to choose him at five-eighthwould, in my opinion, be a huge gamble and one that is totally unnecessary.
We’ve discussed those in contention for the No.6 ina previous article. James Maloney was looking good but crashed out of calculationsover the past couple of weeks which has elevated Todd Carney as the man to gowith. Someone who has played in the halves all his life and is in form. To askHayne to do this is almost unfair.
The experiment didn’t work at club level, while theargument he plays like a five-eighth is a bit hollow. There is a big difference betweenfloating into the attacking equation at first or second receiver every so oftenfor the Eels and playing a traditional five-eighth role in State of Origin! How muchenergy will be sucked from the Hayne tank making 20-25 tackles and the constantup and back through between 30 and 40 sets. While he is a rare talent, why takethe risk?
Hayne will play five-eighth for City this Sunday solet's see how he goes.
While on City-Country, I really think it is timefor this time-honoured game to be scrapped. I just think it has reached itsused-by date.
Is this match genuinely a NSW selection trial? Ithink not.
I am all for promoting rugby league in the bush – country football needs all the help it can get. But just playing a City-Countrygame in Mudgee isn't going to fix all the troubles in bush footy.
The game has evolved over the years and I thinkthis match is a relic from the past – not to mention the risk of injury. Withthe Blues losing the last six series and the side being unsettled over thatperiod you would think that this game would have been of great importance, butits losing its relevance.
It was once a special game on the calendar butrugby league has moved away fromCity-Country. I think its needs be wiped off the agenda.
I find all the talk this week about NewZealand-born James Tamou playing for Australia rather interesting. Under thecurrent eligibility rules, Tamou is well within his rights to representAustralia.
With so many players holding dual passports orbeing of kiwi or Polynesian parentage, and the lure of Origin being so strong,it will happen again. The Kiwis shouldn’t complain too much though; they’vebeen using Australian-born players for years. For them it was aboutopportunity. Not many would have played international footy if they wanted toplay only for Australia.
The drama involving Newcastle hooker Danny Buderuscould so easily have been avoided.
I find it hard to believe that all relevant partieswere communicating this week. Newcastle didn't want him to play, Buderus didn'twant to play but Country did.
Rather than talk to Buderus, Country selectors wentahead and picked Buderus only for him to withdraw due an injury. I cannot helpbut think had Newcastle been playing a big game this weekend Buderus would have been available.
If Ricky Stuart wanted Buderus to play for NSW andnot for Country, then that is fine. Just don't pick him and let us all know.
I thought the Buderus situation during the weeklooked bad for the game and it further eroded credibility in the City-Countrygame. A little more communication and a little more understanding and thiswhole mess could have been sorted out in the selection room – and not inpublic.