NSW spineless

NO Inglis and no Hodges.

That's got to be a bonus.

Could it be the edge NSW fans have been looking for?

Two of the world's best centres missing in action. No right-hand fend or fancy footwork to worry about.

All we have to do now is contain the likes of Slater, Smith, Thurston and Lockyer.

Good luck with that one.

The ‘spine' of a rugby league side ultimately makes or breaks a side in close battles. Those all important positions which boast players who can determine an outcome of a match with a piece of individual brilliance or clever play.

The Cane Toads have the best number 9, 7, 6 and 1 in the game so realistically what chance do we have of putting an end to Queensland's supremacy?

In comparison, NSW looks a bit light on when it comes to match-winners in arguably the four most important positions on the field.

It worries me to see a hooker such as Michael ‘Serial Pest' Ennis in the line-up. And it must worry Blues' coach Ricky Stuart as he has named a make-shift number 9 on the bench in Dean Young.

For some reason – like most people I've talked to this week – Ennis gets under my skin. And it's most likely the sole reason why Stuart has selected him in the side.

But honestly, would we rather see NSW win or Ennis get belted from pillar to post?

The guy is the “Wally Lewis” of the NSW side. Obviously he wouldn't do up the King's bootlaces as a player but he has that same annoying demeanour as Lewis did throughout his Origin career.

Fair dinkum, this guy's about as smart as bait when it comes to giving away penalties ... he'd trip over a cordless phone.

I wrote an article two weeks ago about the lack of genuine halfbacks in the competition and no, I won't be getting any advice from the man with the microphone at the local footy. Stuart has gone with an out-of-form halfback in Mitchell Pearce.

Each year we keep hearing the same old garbage. “He's Origin material, he just needs more experience at the top level.”

The guy has been playing first grade in the NRL for more than four seasons and when given the opportunity to play Origin, has failed on every occasion.

As far as our five-eighth goes, Stuart has only one problem. Where the hell does he hide Soward in defence?

The Blues' hard men have vowed to rally behind their diminutive number 6 if the Maroons target him on the edges.

Made a target? That's stating the bleeding obvious. The Maroon pack will be lining up to have a shot at the St George play-maker who's tackling ability is on par with Wallaby five-eighth Quade Cooper.

The Hayne train has been derailed so we have the green machine's exciting fullback Josh Dugan as our last line of defence. He's as good as any fullback in the competition with ball in hand but there is still a big question over his positional play and defence.

We'll know if Stuart has made the right calls after tonight's game. He has put a lot of thought into his final 17. For us NSW supporters, let's hope he's picked a winning combination.

Still, seeing Ennis hit by a Sam Thaiday ‘bell ringer' will make my night, even if Lockyer and his fellow Cane Toads again put us to the sword.



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