Please tell me NSW won't gamble by playing Jarryd Hayne at five-eighth this year. Please tell me we'll opt for a recognised five-eighth. And please tell me we won't continue picking players out of position.
From what I read this week, it seems NSW coach
Ricky 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 would want to play Hayne at number six. Why play a fullback at five-eighth in the pressure-cooker of State of Origin.
Too often in the past NSW have been burned by picking blokes outside their favoured spots. Even Hayne came forward this week and said such a move would push him out of his comfort zone.
Hayne is a fullback who can play on the wing. And he plays brilliantly in those positions. But to choose him at five-eighth would, in my opinion, be a huge gamble and one that is totally unnecessary.
We’ve discussed those in contention for the No.6 in a previous article. James Maloney was looking good but crashed out of calculations over the past couple of weeks which has elevated Todd Carney as the man to go with. Someone who has played in the halves all his life and is in form. To ask Hayne to do this is almost unfair.
The experiment didn’t work at club level, while the argument he plays like a five-eighth is a bit hollow. There is a big difference between floating into the attacking equation at first or second receiver every so often for the Eels and playing a traditional five-eighth role in State of Origin! How much energy will be sucked from the Hayne tank making 20-25 tackles and the constant up and back through between 30 and 40 sets. While he is a rare talent, why take the risk?
Hayne will play five-eighth for City this Sunday so let's see how he goes.
While on City-Country, I really think it is time for this time-honoured game to be scrapped. I just think it has reached its used-by date.
Is this match genuinely a NSW selection trial? I think 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-Country game in Mudgee isn't going to fix all the troubles in bush footy.
The game has evolved over the years and I think this match is a relic from the past – not to mention the risk of injury. With the Blues losing the last six series and the side being unsettled over that period you would think that this game would have been of great importance, but its losing its relevance.
It was once a special game on the calendar but rugby league has moved away from City-Country. I think its needs be wiped off the agenda.
I find all the talk this week about New Zealand-born James Tamou playing for Australia rather interesting. Under the current eligibility rules, Tamou is well within his rights to represent Australia.
With so many players holding dual passports or being 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’ve been using Australian-born players for years. For them it was about opportunity. Not many would have played international footy if they wanted to play only for Australia.
The drama involving Newcastle hooker Danny Buderus could so easily have been avoided.
I find it hard to believe that all relevant parties were communicating this week. Newcastle didn't want him to play, Buderus didn't want to play but Country did.
Rather than talk to Buderus, Country selectors went ahead and picked Buderus only for him to withdraw due an injury. I cannot help but think had Newcastle been playing a big game this weekend Buderus would have been available.
If Ricky Stuart wanted Buderus to play for NSW and not for Country, then that is fine. Just don't pick him and let us all know.
I thought the Buderus situation during the week looked bad for the game and it further eroded credibility in the City-Country game. A little more communication and a little more understanding and this whole mess could have been sorted out in the selection room – and not in public.