Inside Word: Blues may switch Hayne to centre
The State of Origin series decider is just around the corner; and I can't wait. The NSW Blues are in the fight for the first time in a few years ... and how good is it?
We are going into the game a bit wounded but we expect Ben Creagh, Beau Scott and Luke Lewis to all be fit. The only definite casualty at this stage is Will Hopoate, who has torn his hammy.
Jarryd Hayne is being mentioned as a possible centre replacement, with Brett Morris regaining his place in the team on the wing. Hayne is a freak and would handle this easily. The more ball in Hayne's hands the better, and this is something Queensland wouldn't want. He is a brilliant player who had a great game against Manly on Monday night.
Going to Brisbane is a huge challenge but we know what to expect. We will need to improve again on our last performance and start the game well. Queensland will be hell-bent on winning for retiring greats Darren Lockyer and Petero Civoniceva ... we have to spoil the party.
Ricky Stuart certainly will jump into the team from day one, reinforcing that one win in Sydney does not give us the right to win the series.
There is a lot of work to be done and a huge 80-minute effort required on Wednesday week; good attitudes from day one are vital and will need to be spot on.
This game can be career-defining for some of our players. For 17 lucky players this is a chance to be remembered by many as the team that cracked the cycle. Wednesday week (July 6) can't come quickly enough!
To be honest though, I haven't had a lot of time to think about Origin over the past week, with a great deal happening in my role as a One Community Ambassador, attending Women In League functions in Bowral, Sydney and now Perth tonight (if we can get a flight, that is!) .
While Origin football highlights the raw passion of the game in both players and fans, this week is all about the deeply passionate 50,000 females involved in rugby league.
This weekend (June 24-27) is the Harvey Norman Women In League Round and it is not surprising that it is considered one of the most important on the rugby league calendar.
Not only do we celebrate and acknowledge the role of woman in our great game but we also raise a lot of money for The McGrath Foundation.
The role of females in rugby league is growing every year. Long gone are the days where our mums, grandmas, sisters, etc were confined to the canteen! We have female coaches, referees, administrators, trainers, physios, media managers ... all at the highest level in the NRL.
This is testament to the ever-changing attitudes towards women in what was once a very male-dominated arena. This round is to recognise these women involved at every level of our game; to make them feel appreciated and welcome.
The thanks also extends to our vast number of female supporters; they make up a large percentage of our fan base and we certainly recognise this.
From a personal perspective, it is a great opportunity to publicly thank my mum for the role she played in my rugby league career.
My mother driving me around, and passing and kicking balls to me while Dad was at work for hours on end is something for which I will be in debt to her forever. And I have no doubt every player in our game would have a similar story about the role their mums played in their development ... and we still can't live without them!
So thanks to the women of our game - we cannot survive without you!