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Power play: Blues prepared to pair Sims with Williams for extra impact

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Willie Mason: the human headline

Jason gives his tips for the next round of the NRL and discusses the human headline, Willie Mason.

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Don't be surprised if NSW go with a double whammy of second-row powerhouses off the bench in Tariq Sims and Tony Williams for Origin I against Queensland.

It was thought Sims and Williams - both uncapped at Origin level but viewed as potential big-impact players - would be competing for the same bench spot for the game at Etihad Stadium on May 23, but the Herald has learnt the idea of using both players is an idea on the selection table.

Williams hasn't played for Manly since being suspended for seven weeks after their round-three loss to Cronulla. The Blues team is chosen after round 10, which means Williams won't have played for nine weeks if he goes straight into the Origin match. But Stuart recently said that wouldn't stop him from picking Williams if he thought it was the best way to go. And it is common knowledge that Stuart is a big fan of North Queensland's Sims.

A rested T-rex ... Tony Williams is in line to face the Maroons in Origin I despite a lack of game time due to suspension.

A rested T-rex ... Tony Williams is in line to face the Maroons in Origin I despite a lack of game time due to suspension. Photo: Getty Images

The Maroons have won six series in a row, which means NSW must consider dramatic options if they are to buck the trend. Another Cowboys player - prop James Tamou - was accelerated into the Australian team last week as a lead-up to his anticipated introduction to Origin. Only last year, Tamou was hoping to break into the New Zealand team.

The NSW selection picture could change dramatically between now and when the team is chosen. Already the terrific performance of Sydney Roosters halfback Mitchell Pearce in a beaten team against St George Illawarra yesterday has put Brisbane halfback Peter Wallace up against the ropes in his bid for a Blues spot.

Before yesterday, Wallace was rated ahead of Pearce on form before a groin injury made him unavailable for selection in City-Country. But then Pearce played well for City on Sunday, and backed it up with a big show yesterday. Pearce is a clear front runner now. Wallace will resume for the Broncos against Gold Coast at Suncorp Stadium tomorrow night. It will be three weeks since he has played.

Stuart will need the next few weeks to finalise his team. A number of positions appear undecided. Some are available because players who would normally be contenders have been injured recently, some are open because no one is in the sort of form that demands the spot, and some simply have a lot of genuine contenders.

Newcastle right winger Akuila Uate and Penrith left centre Michael Jennings look to be the only obvious choices among the outside backs at this stage. Josh Morris (Canterbury), Chris Lawrence (Wests Tigers) and Parramatta's Jarryd Hayne are right-centre chances, while Hayne is also a possibility at fullback or left wing - two positions St George Illawarra's Brett Morris is in the frame for too.

Manly's Brett Stewart could make a run at fullback if he comes back strongly for Manly against Canterbury at ANZ Stadium tomorrow night. Stewart has been named to make a return from rib and knee injuries. It is a big blow to Canberra fullback Josh Dugan's chances that he has not recovered from a shoulder injury in time to play against Cronulla at Canberra Stadium on Sunday.

The Blues have plenty of quality back-rowers to pick from. If Manly's Glenn Stewart comes back from a finger injury against the Bulldogs, he will enter into that equation too. It remains to be seen whether Stuart picks Blues captain Paul Gallen (Cronulla) at prop or in the back row. Prop seems likely, with Parramatta's Tim Mannah and St George Illawarra's Trent Merrin among the other prop contenders.

19 comments so far

  • Dugan, B Morris, Hayne. J Morris, Uate, Carney, Pearce the backline for me, with Gallen, Farah, Weyman, G Stewart, Watmough, Bird, and on the bench: Lewis, T Williams, Tamou and Sims.

    That would be my team. Big, fast backline and a monster bench to scare them. Bird to fill in at dummy half if necessary.

    Commenter
    Dan
    Location
    Nth Sydney
    Date and time
    April 26, 2012, 9:45AM
    • I think Dan from the comment above is pretty close with his team. I think 14/17 positions are settled, 3 TBA - fullback, half and the bench prop. My team is Hayne, Morris, Morris, Jennings, Uate, Carney, Wallace, GStewart, T-Rex, Lewis, Gallen, Bedsy, Tamou. Bench: Hinchcliffe, Watmough, Sims and Merrin.

      Commenter
      Relli
      Location
      NSW
      Date and time
      April 26, 2012, 10:18AM
      • Nice team Dan, but Dugan is not an origin player. Hayne to fullback, Jennings to Centre and your backline is as good as NSW is going to get. Lewis for Bird and bring in Gidley or Hinchcliffe and again I'm with you!

        What a shame we've been hit with so many injuries, Merritt, M Gordon, and Idris, Galloway, G Stewart, B Stewart, Hayne and T Sims are comming back from injuries not to mention Wallace and Buderus. The test was a nice training run for Cronk and Thurston yet city country didnt allow Pearce and Carney to reunite. Give back Melbourne's origin game to the SFS and Go the Blues!!

        Commenter
        Matt
        Date and time
        April 26, 2012, 10:48AM
        • Ricky Stuart and I will have to disagree with you - Dugan is a big game player born for Origin. He struggled in game 1 last year as he was carrying plenty of niggling injuries, but a fit Dugan is our best option. Top class player. He may have left his return from injury too late for game 1 though...

          Commenter
          Dan
          Date and time
          April 26, 2012, 1:32PM
        • Dugan has proven nothing other than his ability to physically break down often. Hayne is not a centre and not a 5/8.

          Commenter
          Matt
          Date and time
          April 26, 2012, 2:29PM
        • When you play as hard as he does and put your body on the line like he does you are going to get injured. Did you see him destroy Dave Taylor 2 years ago in a cover tackle? No other fullback could pull that off. Hayne dominated from left wing a few years ago - I don't see why he can't dominate from left centre.

          Commenter
          Dan
          Date and time
          April 26, 2012, 4:07PM
        • Dan we'll have to agree to disagree.

          I like Sam's comment about Farah. He's a must.

          Last year for all the attack that Qld put on NSW in their chest pounding farewell of Lockyer they only won by 10pts and alot of that was due to Minichello mistakes who was clearly unwell. NSW can win this series with its mobile forwards and a spine of Hayne, Carney, Pearce & Farah. Its not Slater, Thurston, Cronk & Smith but it aint half bad. We have the best forward in Gallen and a better bench.

          I've commented too much but I'm counting it down this year and can't wait to stop the rot!!!!

          Commenter
          Matt
          Date and time
          April 26, 2012, 4:40PM
      • I would have Hayne, Uate, Brett Morris, Jennings, Josh Morris, Carney, Pearce or Wallace, Lewis, Watmough, Glenn Stewart, Gallen, Buderus or Farah, Tamou. Bench would be Sims, Williams(T-Rex), Mannah and Gidley or Hinchcliffe. Also, never again give one of our home games to Melbourne.

        Commenter
        memorybabe
        Location
        Kings Langley
        Date and time
        April 26, 2012, 12:28PM
        • One of my main concerns is No.9. I'd choose Farah, but I get the feeling Ricky is going to put Buderus there. I love Buderus, but we need to look long term. He is not likely to play Origin next year. It's similar to picking Barrett, then having him retire soon after.
          As for game 1 in Melb, I really don't get why we forfeited having 2 home games. Living in Melb and being at game 1 last year, I can tell you that majority of the crowd are QLD supporters, because of the big 4, now they still have big 3. Storm fans support which ever team has more of their players, and also due to the fact that they have a thing against NSW. I guess on the plus side is that I get to watch a game down here. I will be yelling my butt off!! GO BLUES!!!

          Commenter
          Sam
          Location
          Melbourne
          Date and time
          April 26, 2012, 2:46PM
          • No!!!!!! Don't pick T-Rex in the team! I need him for my Dreamteam!!

            Commenter
            Lone Scout
            Location
            DT
            Date and time
            April 26, 2012, 4:33PM

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