Dumped Lewis turns back the clock
Veteran Sharks back-rower and reformed winger Luke Lewis turned back the clock in Cronulla's 30-28 win over the Knights, but it doesn't mean he is confident of a State Origin recall for the series decider on July 8.
With names being thrown around as potential replacements for Josh Jackson – who is sure to come under scrutiny for his dangerous throw on Jamie Soward in the Bulldogs win over Penrith on Saturday – Lewis said he isn't expecting a call from coach Laurie Daley.
With his club coach Shane Flanagan insisting Lewis would do a job for the Blues if required, in what would be his 18th Origin cap, the man himself was just hopeful New South Wales could get the result against the Maroons.
"To be honest I haven't thought too much of it. I've been watching with interest and hopefully the boys get across the line. I'm not really thinking about Origin at all to be honest. I just hope the boys get the win and keep that trophy here," Lewis said.
"I haven't talked to [Daley] at all. He gave me a ring the night before the first Origin team was announced and that was it really. I send him text messages saying 'good luck' and that sort of stuff.
"I think they are playing pretty well to be honest. I think they were unlucky in Game One and they played really well in Game Two so it's going to be a big test for the young guys."
Lewis said if the phone call came he'd have no hesitations heading into Camp Coffs for Game Three.
However he realised NSW's recently-adopted youth policy was in full swing and said he understood if Origin I 18th man Tyson Frizell and Origin II 18th man Tariq Sims were picked ahead of him.
"I'm all for what's best for NSW. I'm enjoying my footy at Cronulla at the moment so we'll see how it goes," Lewis said.
"If I get picked then I definitely take the opportunity but I know Loz is trying to build a new team by getting young guys in there and I totally understand that."
Arguably the best player on the field against the Knights, Lewis revisited his days in the backs after making a line break down the sideline before offloading to Ben Barba. Not to be outdone, Lewis eventually scored on the same tackle – on the other side of the field – having backed up Barba in support.
"He still has some good wheels under him Luke. He can run when he has to and just to keep pushing and pushing and to come up with the try in the end was special for him I thought he was great. He led by example like the senior player he is," Lewis's coach Flanagan said.
Lewis went on to add: "I got myself out [on to the wing] because [Sharks centre Gerard] Bealey wanted to go in and have a carry so he got the ball early and I thought 'oh hang on he might hit me here' and next thing you know it popped into my arms.
"I was thinking how good is this getting a run down the sideline – bringing back the old days. I was glad it worked out the way it did."