Elias wants Anasta back for Origin III - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Elias wants Anasta back for Origin III

By Todd Balym 12/06/2008 06:21:49 PM Comments (0)

Former NSW skipper Ben Elias has done a dramatic backflip, calling upon Blues selectors to pick Braith Anasta at five-eighth for the State of Origin series decider almost one year after demanding his sacking.

Elias labelled Anasta's performance in last year's Origin II defeat that secured Queensland the series title as "embarrassing" and said the five-eighth should forfeit his match payments.

But after watching the Blues surrender to their equal worst loss in history with a 30-0 defeat to Queensland at Suncorp Stadium on Wednesday night, Elias wants Anasta re-instated for the July 2 decider at ANZ Stadium.

"It's funny you know, I was saying Anasta shouldn't have been there a couple of years ago after a terrible performance ... and I would have to say he would be one of the first blokes I would pick at the moment," Elias told AAP.

Elias is adamant Anasta would provide greater attacking options with halfback Peter Wallace than Test five-eighth Greg Bird, insisting Bird should play in his natural position of lock.

"Get a five-eighth who plays five-eighth every week," he said.

"And a bloke who has played big games. Here is a challenge for him and I think he is up to the challenge.

"It's obvious when you've got Anasta on one side and Wallace on the other you've got a different scope of attack.

"You would have to think there would be changes made after a 30 point deficit."

Recalling Anasta is only part of Elias's plan for NSW, starting Origin camp a week earlier his other key idea.

Elias is confident coach Craig Bellamy has the ability to turn the emphatic defeat around to a series win but believes NSW needs more time in camp to build combinations than the Maroons.

With Queensland's team filled with six Melbourne, four current Brisbane players and a further four ex-Broncos, Elias says the Maroons have an advantage in terms of building combinations among their team of stars.

"I would do something out of the ordinary ... I would pick the side as quick as I could and come into camp earlier," he said.

"My answer always has been when you're in a corner you have just got to work harder.

"Some sacrifices really need to be made at the moment between now and game three.

"Maybe Craig Bellamy does an extra week in camp, maybe that is what they need.

"(Queensland) have a very, very big combination advantage ... maybe we need to work harder on our combinations and our understanding of each others' plays.

"It's a bit tough on their own clubs (coming into camp early) but you've got to ask the question: `are we willing and able and wanting to sacrifice some things and ask for something extraordinary and do something you've never done before and sacrifice that extra week to win?'

Elias knows all about overcoming Origin adversity.

He missed the 1989 debacle, which included the record 36-6 Origin I loss and a 3-0 series defeat that secured Queensland's last three-peat of titles, but returned in 1990 to captain the Blues to the series win.

He says the Blues now have their "backs to the wall" and must use the pain of a historic defeat as motivation for the decider.

"I can live with getting beat, but getting thrashed I can't, it hurts a lot," he said.

"I've got to say all the players should be hurting big time. Not physically but also mentally.

"We're under enormous pressure, we've lost the last two series."

Brought to you by AAP AAP © 2020 AAP

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