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Should Hayne be centre of attention for Origin?

Winning Starts Monday

Selection headache ... Jarryd Hayne may be best suited to play in the centres for NSW in the Origin series

Selection headache ... Jarryd Hayne may be best suited to play in the centres for NSW in the Origin series Photo: Getty Images

Is Jarryd Hayne the man to stop Greg Inglis in State of Origin?

After his failed move to five-eighth in yesterday's City-Country match, Hayne is now likely to come under consideration as a centre for NSW in next month's opening Origin match.

Blues coach Ricky Stuart has made it clear he believes Hayne is a key figure in the campaign to end Queensland's six-year Origin domination by engineering his selection at five-eighth for City in the match at Mudgee.

The experiment didn't work, with Hayne struggling to make an impact before being shunted out to the wing for the last 15 minutes when Feliti Mateo took over the five-eighth role.

With Country five-eighth Todd Carney putting his hand up for the Blues No.6 jersey, Stuart now has to either bite the bullet and admit Hayne is NSW's best fullback or find another position for him.

After Stuart explained Hayne's shock omission for the opening game of last year's series by controversially declaring he was "not a fullback", the Parramatta superstar was recalled for Origin II on the wing.

Stuart even resisted the urge to move Hayne to fullback after Canberra's Josh Dugan was ruled out with injury and Manly coach Des Hasler told him Brett Stewart was not fit enough for the rigors of Origin, calling in Roosters veteran Anthony Minichiello instead.

Hayne then played left centre in Origin III after Will Hopoate and Michael Jennings were sidelined by injury.

Injuries and the form of players set to return in coming weeks will largely determine the make-up of the Blues outside backs, with Dugan and Stewart having hardly played this season.

Both are expected back next weekend and will have up to three games to stake their claims for Origin I in Melbourne on May 23.

Hayne and St George Illawarra's Brett Morris are the other main fullback options, but the latter didn't shine for Country the way he has in his five games wearing the Dragons No.1 jersey this season - suggesting he may be better suited to the wing, where Hayne has played most of his representative games.

Should Dugan or Stewart win the fullback role or Morris be chosen there, Hayne will come into contention for left wing but he may also be considered as a centre.

Assuming Jennings is fit, he will play left centre but Stuart's only genuine right centre option is Chris Lawrence and the Wests Tigers star has been largely out of sorts returning from last year's Four Nations tour.

Lawrence played for City and got the better of Country's Josh Morris, who switched to right centre in the second half so Stuart could assess him in the role, but it was hardly a performance that screamed 'pick me' for Origin.

In fact, Sydney Roosters left centre Joseph Leulia was the best centre on the field and the way he pushed off South Sydney's Matt King in the lead up to a City try reinforced the task faced by whoever Stuart chooses to mark Inglis.

Having played right centre for Australia when Mark Gasnier was knocked out by Steve Matai in the opening exchanges of the end of season 2007 Test in Wellington, Hayne may be the man to handle Inglis.

He is big enough, is renowned as a strong defender and did a good job of shutting down Darren Lockyer when he played five-eighth for Fiji against Australia in the 2008 World Cup.

It has also been largely forgotten that Hayne played centre for the Eels until moving to fullback in 2007 after an injury to Luke Burt.

Possible NSW team: Josh Dugan, Akuila Uate, Michael Jennings, Jarryd Hayne, Brett Morris, Todd Carney, Mitchell Pearce, Greg Bird, Luke Lewis, Anthony Watmough, Tim Mannah, Danny Buderus, Paul Gallen. Interchange: Kurt Gidley, Aaron Woods, James Tamou, Tariq Sims.

Winning Starts Monday appears oneline each Monday at lunchtime.

24 comments so far

  • Im Haynes biggest fan - he just isnt fit enough at the moment to play in the front line of defence.

    Its a mental thing for Jarryd if you want to get the best out of him he needs to have the No.1 on his back

    Date and time
    April 23, 2012, 1:46PM
    • Here we go again......The Blues and Ricky haven't got a clue about the make up of their team.
      Seriously..... how can they even begin thinking of winning.
      Rickys star shone brightly when he first started coaching.
      but since then.....?

      Oh Come on
      Marooned deep in Blues Territory
      Date and time
      April 23, 2012, 2:37PM
      • RL's State of Origin competition is possibly unique in the world of sport, not just in Australia.

        There are, it seems to this outsider, two main factors for this:

        (i) there are only two possible contestants; and

        (ii) they are fairly evenly matched.

        SoO did not last in the VFL-AFL because:

        (i) too many contestants reduced the focus, and made for organisational difficulties^; and

        (ii) Victoria was far stronger than SA and WA.

        Despite occasional and largely ritual pinings for it to return to AFL, there is little appetite for it anywhere.

        The NFL has its annual Pro Bowl, but that it just show-ponying, not a real contest.

        Any other examples, anyone?

        Seems to me that RL should see it as a treasure to be safe-guarded, not frigged around with by spinmeisters and PR drongos.

        ^ = "issue to be addressed" for those who find the expression "organisational difficulties" unfamiliar.

        40 Degrees S
        Date and time
        April 23, 2012, 4:14PM
        • In my view the secret to the NRL's state of origin success is that it is the highest quality Rugby League possible with the best 26 Rugby League players in Australia on the field at the one time. AFL could achieve similar success if they continue with their one match Victoria vs The Rest. This will feature the highest quality AFL possible with the best 36 AFL players on the field at the one time. I'd like to see that!

          North Ryde, Sydney
          Date and time
          April 24, 2012, 2:45AM
      • How can you leave out Robbie Farah? The guy had a blinder on Sunday! Without him City would not have won. The combination he formed with Pearce was supremely better than Country's and their smoothness and timing was easily superior to that of Ennis's and Pearce's origin duo last year. The fact that city won without their five eightth exerting any influence over the match or the team, adds further weight to a Pearce Farah combination for NSW. It's exacty what we've been looking for. Why would you try someone else when it is clear that they worked so well together, coupled with, the fact that Peace and Carney have a well formed combination as well. It looks to be common sense. And let's not forget that Buderus's much heralded return has yielded very little in way of convincing match stats. If we were to look at form and devensive resolve as indicators for a blue's spot, then Farah and the Dragon's Mitch Rein are the two best prospects.

        Stand Spray and Deliver
        Date and time
        April 23, 2012, 5:06PM
        • Why is it every year selectors pick players based on the names of the players not the current form. City/Country is meant to be a trial match for NSW selectors to find suitable players in a position they regularly play in, but more importantly determine if they are in form in the first place. Hayne failed this audition this year, lets not even mention the fact that his performance at club level is is question aswell.
          There are 16 teams to pick from, how hard is it to pick an inform fullback/centre/winger. Not slot him in the team just because he may come good.
          About time NSW selectors take a page out of QLD book and pick a team based on recent performance. Otherwise this series is lost before we even begin.

          Date and time
          April 23, 2012, 5:33PM
          • It is worse than that - not only do they pick on names alone they then play them out of position, a policy Ricky was to reverse.

            Relying on Hayne's flashes of brilliance won't win SOO, it actually makes him a liability. The Maroons win on consistency, and Slater for eg is consistently brilliant. I know Slater was a potential liability in his earlier days for his brain snaps (he managed to prove the critics wrong) but to hope that Hayne produces the same result as Slater if he cements a spot is not the way to go. NSW won't stick with their players long enough.

            Has anyone looked at the last time Buderus was in a SOO winning side? (I misspelt as 'willing' side - would be just as apt!) 2008 by my reckoning, and he only has a 50% winning percentage. Experience is great at SOO level but he is too far past his peak for that to be enough.

            Hey, but go with both Hayne & Buderus. As a NSW'man I am and will continue to back the Maroons.

            Another Steve
            Date and time
            April 24, 2012, 4:07PM
        • Has anyone actually watched Buderus play this year rather than just take Bennett's word for it? If he is selected it will be an ever bigger debacle than Hayne not being in the team at all in game 1 last year.

          Date and time
          April 23, 2012, 5:57PM
          • Any your comments about Hayne are ridiculous. He was played in a position he wasn't used to in a team he wasn't used to. Questioning his club form is totally moronic as he was man of the match against the sharks last a losing team! He scored 2 tries and set up another.

            It is pretty easy. Hayne should be fullback, Carney 5/8, Pearce halfback and Farrah at hooker. If Hayne isn't picked for NSW, we still might have a chance as the QLDers may be too busy laughing and be caught off guard.

            I don't understand Ricky's comments about wanting to get Hayne involved...Hello? The biggest impact player QLD have is Billy Slater and he plays in what position?

            Central Coast
            Date and time
            April 23, 2012, 7:23PM
            • I agree that Farrah should be at hooker, and I'm a dogs fan. As good as Ennis is, he just doesn't have the speed out of dummy half and attacking game required to compete at origin level.
              As for Hayne, stick him at full back, so long as Dugan and Stewart aren't fit there shouldn't even be an argument. As good as Morris is playing this year, he's tried and tested at wing so leave him there and it's sorted.
              I reckon Ricky knows exactly what he's doing with the team and this is all just mind games to throw the QLDers off. Waste of time i reckon

              Date and time
              April 23, 2012, 11:11PM

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