Rep season no distraction: Orford - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Rep season no distraction: Orford

By John Salvado 12/04/2008 11:16:33 AM Comments (0)

Former Melbourne star Matt Orford was in no mood to blame Manly's 26-4 trouncing on Friday night by the Storm on selection speculation for the upcoming rep season.

"It was too big a match to even worry about that stuff," said the Sea Eagles star, who has twice been picked to wear the NSW State of Origin No.7 jersey in previous years, only to be forced out both times due to injury.

"We had our hands full, it was a really short turn-around and then there's the road trip down here, it's not called the Graveyard for nothing.

"I'd be very surprised if anyone had rep football on their minds."

Orford's performance in a badly-beaten side in front of Storm and NSW coach Craig Bellamy didn't make the Blues' halfback dilemma any clearer, with the likes of Peter Wallace, Todd Carney, Brett Finch and Brett Kimmorley also in the running.

However, Storm star Billy Slater did make made another compelling case to replace Manly's Brett Stewart as the Australian fullback for next month's Test against New Zealand.

Slater - who has played five Origins for Queensland but has yet to don a Kangaroos jersey - scored two tries and set up another for winger Anthony Quinn in a flawless display.

"Billy is one of those guys who really enjoys what he does," said Melbourne coach Craig Bellamy.

"He sees it as fun.

"It doesn't matter if it's a trial or a grand final with Billy, he always looks to enjoy what he's doing and does it 100 miles an hour.

"That seems to be the recipe that works for him.

"He's certainly not going to let anyone down if they pick him.

".... but he understands how it works - sometimes they go with the incumbent and if they've always done a good job before the selectors might do that.

"That's out of his control.

"All he can do is do what he does out there and if he keeps doing that at some stage he's going to get picked in some sort of rep team."

Two more of the Storm's many Australian and Origin prospects, Greg Inglis and Ryan Hoffman, also scored tries on Friday night, with winger Michael Bani crossing for a late consolation try for Manly.

"(We were) ugly," said Orford, who spent five seasons as the Melbourne halfback before joining Manly in 2006.

"They're just a disciplined football side.

"They don't make errors in their own end, we were very guilty of that and we played the majority of football in our own half.

"You turn the ball over that much and you don't have much field position, then you pay.

"We're very disappointed with how we turned up tonight and with the result."

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