Webb must be on Qld Origin bench: Webcke - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Webb must be on Qld Origin bench: Webcke

By Daniel Pace 30/05/2008 05:18:46 PM Comments (0)

Queensland legend Shane Webcke believes Maroons wrecking ball Carl Webb would be far more effective playing off the bench in Origin II.

Cowboys enforcer Webb has been heavily criticised following his lacklustre performance as a starting prop in Queensland's 18-10 loss to NSW in the opening match in Sydney.

With New Zealand Warriors skipper Steve Price set to be rushed into the Maroons side, even a big game against Penrith in Townsville on Saturday night is unlikely to save Webcke from being relegated to the bench for the second Origin clash in Brisbane on June 11.

"I don't think we did Carl any favours starting him (in Origin I)," Webcke told AAP at a Queensland Former Origin Greats (FOGS) function at Suncorp Stadium.

"I guess the selectors had very good reason for doing that, which I wouldn't know about.

"I've always reckoned Charlie (Webb) is better off the bench. It better suits his level of fitness.

"He gets a lot of bum raps about his fitness but I think he's just such an explosive player.

"He's never going to be a player who stays out there for long stretches but if he gets out there and finds his mark, he can give you 15 destructive minutes where he can turn the game on its head."

Webcke, who played 21 Origins from 1998 to 2004, felt the selectors should not make wholesale changes to the Maroons despite their ordinary display at ANZ Stadium last week.

"We got beaten by eight points by a New South Wales side who are pretty bloody good and playing with a new coach (Craig Bellamy)," Webcke said.

"Obviously they felt the enthusiasm rush because of that.

"I don't think we've got a lot of problems.

"I think we were just built up too much and that plays on players' minds in certain respects."

There's been speculation Test captain Darren Lockyer, providing his suspect knee pulls up OK after Friday night's clash between Brisbane and Parramatta, will come off the bench for the Maroons.

The thinking is he'll be spared the intensity of the early exchanges as the Blues forwards look to target the champion five-eighth but Webcke reckons Lockyer should be in the firing line from the opening whistle.

"The barrage doesn't stop in Origin," he pointed out.

"You can isolate him from the first 20 minutes and the second 20 can be just as tough.

"I just don't think Locky's the man to come off the bench. I think you should let him play (from the start)."

Queensland coach Mal Meninga told reporters he would leave the decision to Lockyer on whether he played in Origin II.

"I know Darren, he's a pretty honest character so he'll give us a fair appreciation of where he's at after the (Broncos) game," Meninga said.

"We'll leave it up to him."

If Lockyer is fit to lead the Maroons, the chances of in-form halfback Scott Prince making the squad named on Tuesday will nosedive, unless he gains a bench spot.

Cowboys skipper Johnathan Thurston is certain to retain his place, despite being out of form at club level.

"I still think it comes down to you've got to pick one or the other," Webcke said about the battle royale between classy halves Prince and Thurston.

"It's either Princey or Thurston at halfback, particularly if Lockyer is fit."

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