Finch puts his hand up for Origin III - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Finch puts his hand up for Origin III

By Steve Jancetic 15/06/2008 07:34:34 PM Comments (0)

Parramatta halfback Brett Finch thrust his name into Origin III reckoning and the Eels into the NRL top eight with a scintillating performance in the 44-6 demolition of Wests Tigers.

Finch and halves partner Feleti Mateo toyed with a Tigers side pummeled into submission by a powerful Eels pack, former Blues No.7 Finch giving NSW selectors plenty of food for thought as they look to rebuild a side demolished by the Maroons in Origin II.

With NSW halfback Peter Wallace no certainty to be fit for the Origin decider on July 2 after undergoing minor groin surgery last week, Finch picked the perfect time to find his best form, playing a leading role in five of the Eels' eight tries at ANZ Stadium.

NSW bench utility Kurt Gidley, who was set to be handed the halfback role ahead of game one before injury struck on selection eve, would also come into calculations if Wallace was ruled out.

But Finch, who has played three matches for NSW with the last being in 2006, made sure his name was in the selectors' thoughts.

"He's been really good for a number of weeks, but I thought today was the most patient and composed the team's been and he was a big reason for that," Parramatta coach Michael Hagan said.

"I thought he and Feleti were really in control in our attack."

It's a pity Mateo isn't eligible to join Finch in the sky blue after continuing his recent purple patch of form with another man of the match display.

Mateo can't play for NSW after declaring his allegiances to Tonga.

The 24-year-old, who has played two Tests, had until the May 8 Rugby League International Federation meeting to seek permission to play for NSW and Australia, something he had said he was keen to do after representing City Origin earlier this year.

By not seeking a switch, he remains eligible for Tonga and lost to NSW for at least this year's series.

"His management was informed a week before the deadline that they needed to seek permission to change (allegiances)," ARL chief executive Geoff Carr confirmed today.

"We made sure we told them, so there was no mix-up."

Mateo would have come into the mix for a spot on the bench had Gidley been thrown into the starting line-up, and there is no doubt his stunning ball skills would be handy for a NSW held scoreless in Brisbane.

But NSW selector Laurie Daley said mass changes for game three were unlikely, despite the game two result.

"As a selection group we haven't met yet and we haven't discussed the outcome of Wednesday night's performance," Daley said on the Nine Network's The Footy Show.

"We're all very disappointed with how it turned out, I don't think anyone expected 30 points to be put on NSW and us delivering nothing.

"I think one thing which has worked in Queensland's favour over the years have been when NSW has lost we've made wholesale changes.

"I'm not all for making a lot of changes."

Parramatta's win lifted them into the top eight for the first time since round one, joined there by fellow late bloomers St George Illawarra, who moved from ninth to sixth without playing a game.

Brisbane dropped to seventh with back-to-back losses after a 34-16 defeat to Canberra today.

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