Bennett to selectors: It's Scott Prince - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Bennett to selectors: It's Scott Prince

Wayne Heming 11/05/2008 07:24:08 PM Comments (0)

Brisbane coach Wayne Bennett gave Scott Prince a massive Origin push on Sunday, saying Queensland selectors would be silly to pick Karmichael Hunt ahead of him as Darren Lockyer's five-eighth replacement.

Lockyer's involvement in this year's Origin series is questionable following further knee surgery on Sunday which is expected to sideline him for up to six weeks, ruling him out of the first two games.

Bennett was stunned by suggestions Hunt could wear Lockyer's No.6 jumper ahead of Prince.

"You guys are having a go at me ... it's a gee up isn't it?," said Bennett before stating Prince's Origin case two days before selectors name their 17-man squad.

"I don't think Queensland would be that silly personally.

"What are you going to do with Scott Prince .... what, he can't play? Speculation Australian fullback Billy Slater would wear the No.1 jumper so Hunt could cover for Lockyer gained momentum over the weekend.

Bennett bristled at claims selectors were toying with the idea because of concerns that Johnathan Thurston and Prince were so similar they could get in each other's way.

"Scott Prince is one of the best team players I've ever coached," said Bennett after Brisbane went down 30-12 to Manly on Sunday.

"He's just a wonderful team player.

"I had him here (at the Broncos) for three years and we didn't see enough of him (because of injuries). I took him away in the Australian side (for the 2005 Tri Nations).

"He'd do any role he had to do to be in the team.

"You see him play for the Titans every week, he's their best team player. "I don't think he's going to have a problem with Thurston being dominant.

"If Thurston's calling the shots, I'm sure he'll be happy to sit back but if Johnathan can't call them, he'll put his hand up and say I've got this call."

Hunt sided with his coach saying Thurston and Prince should be Queensland's halves.

"My honest opinion is you've got probably two of the best halves running around the paddock who are Queenslanders, Johnathan Thurston and Scott Prince, and I can't see why they wouldn't pick them," said Hunt.

"They're two very classy players and one thing both would have is they'd put the team before themselves and they wouldn't get in each others way.

Hunt said Queensland selectors had not sounded him out about playing five-eighth in the opening Origin game in Sydney on Wednesday week.

Bennett expects to lose four players to Origin duty.

"Probably (Ben) Hannant, (Sam) Thaiday, Karmichael (Hunt) and Justin (Hodges), I think that's about it," he said.

Meanwhile Bennett said Lockyer's clean out surgery had gone very well.

"I've spoken to the doctors, more importantly they know what's going on, he (Lockyer) is still trying to work it out.

"They're very happy with everything.

"They see him as four to six weeks he'll be back playing football."

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