Craig Wing: The perfect Origin utility?
If there has ever been a better bench option for New South Wales than Craig Wing, his coach is yet to find it.<br><br>Not content to sit back and subtly sing the praises of his star playmaker from afar following his stunning performance for City Origin last Friday night, South Sydney coach Jason Taylor has gone one better by labelling Wing the best utility he has ever seen.<br><br>The 29-year-old was rated only an outside chance of regaining a sky blue jersey this season after two years in the wilderness but has suddenly rocketed back into calculations as the man to help end three years of Queensland dominance.<br><br>“He is as good as anyone I have seen in regards to being able to cover different positions,” Taylor told NRL.com. <br><br>“He is such a valuable player to have and that’s the thing about him, being able to play a number of positions – he can come on in any position and play as if he plays there every week.<br><br>“He did that on Friday night and I thought he played really well.”<br><br>City coach John Cartwright was quick to talk up Wing – a veteran of 10 games for NSW but none since 2006 – as a genuine bench option over the weekend and Taylor said he would be stunned if Origin selectors didn’t now have him near the top of their lists.<br><br>Wing came on after just 10 minutes for City to replace injured Rabbitohs team-mate John Sutton at five-eighth and played a leading hand as his side overcame an early 12-0 deficit to run away with an emphatic 40-18 win.<br><br>“He is certainly a player that I think should always come into consideration when it comes to the rep teams.” Taylor said. <br><br>“He can always fill that utility role on the bench because of that strength we are talking about – the ability to cover so many positions regardless of where he has been playing and to also make an impact. He is so solid in every aspect of the game.” <br><br>Ironically, Wing’s utility value will prove invaluable for Taylor and his South Sydney side over the next month with Sutton sidelined with a broken hand.<br><br>Taylor had originally planned to use his most experienced player in a roving role – mainly between hooker and lock – this season “but we’ve got John out now so Craig will slot straight into that five-eighth role”.<br><br>Asked about the pros and cons of having a player suited so perfectly to so many different positions, Taylor replied: “I think that over the years, most of his coaches have probably struggled a bit with the decision about where he is best suited.<br><br>“But although there are times when you do think to yourself ‘well what is Craig’s best position’, the fact that he can cover so many of them really is a great positive to have.”<br><br>Taylor also commended Wing for his efforts in overcoming a series of injuries since returning to South Sydney from the Roosters last season.<br><br>The veteran of 245 NRL appearances played only 11 games last year because of a shoulder injury suffered just seven minutes into the season and missed the opening two rounds earlier this year with hip and ankle problems.<br><br>“It’s been very frustrating for Craig but he has stayed positive and is playing some very strong football at the moment,” Taylor said. <br><br>“Being back in the rep environment is good for him too. He has worked very hard to get back to where he is.”<br><br>The Rabbitohs have been hit and miss this season but have the opportunity to cement their position in the top eight with a win over Wests Tigers at the Sydney Cricket Ground this Sunday.<br><br>“Overall we’ve had a pretty solid start,” Taylor said. <br><br>“We haven’t got the results on the scoreboard over the past few weeks but if you take the scoreboard out of it we’ve been enormously competitive and still have a lot of improvement in us so I’m pretty satisfied with where we’re at right now.”<br><br>