Hooker at No.7 for NSW an insult: Orford - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Hooker at No.7 for NSW an insult: Orford

By Todd Balym and Wayne Heming 08/04/2008 07:37:44 PM Comments (0)

Aspiring NSW halfback Matt Orford admits he would be insulted if selectors threw the No.7 Blues jumper to a part-timer this year.

Wests Tigers hooker Robbie Farah has emerged as a contender in the extensive field jostling for the halfback position as he struggles to unseat incumbent No.9 and skipper Danny Buderus.

Farah's case was strengthened when he was named at halfback for the Tigers in Sunday's clash with Canberra.

But Orford says it would be an insult to every genuine halfback vying for the Blues position if Farah was given first crack.

"I think any halfback would (be insulted)," he said.

"Every halfback in this competition wants to play for their state and country.

"You're out there busting your butt, you've been playing halfback all your career and then they go and throw nines up as potential sevens.

"To be taken over by a quality nine, that is where he plays his best football, I guess it is a bit of an insult to all halfbacks."

Farah isn't the only player standing in Orford's path to a NSW State of Origin debut.

Rookie Brisbane halfback Peter Wallace, Cronulla's Brett Kimmorley and Parramatta's Brett Finch are also in the mix.

Wallace is just four games into his halfback career with the Broncos after being dumped by Penrith and was stunned his Origin prospects had been rated so highly.

"I don't know about Origin, I'm just taking it one game at a time," said the 22 year-old who was born in Melbourne.

"But it (Origin) is everyone's dream so I wouldn't knock it back.

"It's been a great move for me, I'm being coached by the best coach in the world and playing with some of the best players in the world."

While Wallace was hesitant to talk up his Origin claims, he agreed he was playing the best football of his career since coming to Brisbane to link up with Darren Lockyer in the halves.

With Lockyer on a slow comeback from knee surgery, Wallace led the Broncos to a 3-0 start with two man of the match performances boosting his rising reputation.

"It helps playing with a bunch of forwards who are going forward for me and laying the platform, that's helped me the most," he said.

But where Wallace failed last week, when the Broncos lost to Melbourne, Orford is hoping to capitalise.

His Manly team face the Storm on Friday night and Orford will use the opportunity to remind NSW coach Craig Bellamy of his ability.

From 2003-2005 he and Bellamy led the Storm to the finals but since Orford moved to the Eagles he's been overlooked for rep jumpers because of his perceived failure in big games.

"Hopefully it puts me in the mix of things because he knows my capabilities and has coached me before," said Orford.

"He doesn't have the final say, there are many selectors there and all I can do is put my hat in the ring."

But Orford knows Friday's clash, a big game against the premiers, is an ideal audition for an Origin role.

"I guess, the last few weeks have been (as well) and the next month ahead is going to be just as important," he said.

"(But) I'm not going to even look at it like that.

"That NSW Origin jersey is not even in my mind."

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