Kurt Gidley targets Test No.1 jumper - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Kurt Gidley targets Test No.1 jumper

By Steve Jancetic, Todd Balym and Liam FitzGibbon 03/07/2008 06:56:10 PM Comments (0)

Kurt Gidley has set his sights on the Australian No.1 jumper after redefining the NSW fullback role with a starring performance in the Origin decider.

In a night of few positives for the Blues, Gidley went a long way toward shedding his Mr Fixit tag as he produced a compelling case to be NSW's long-term fullback solution.

Thrust into the starting line-up at the expense Brett Stewart, Gidley turned Origin III into his private coming out party.

The 26-year-old was in the thick of everything as he dabbled between dummy half, playmaker and support player, the Knights star going a long way to revolutionising the fullback role for the Blues.

And now he wants to do the same for Australia, casting aside the utility tag that has seen him become the first man picked on the Kangaroos bench for Australia's last two Test wins.

"I have always said the next progression for me is to make the starting team and I really enjoy starting," Gidley said.

"I probably felt better starting than coming off the bench, you burn too much energy sort of coming off the bench because you try too much.

"Everyone likes to try and push into a starting team at whatever position they play at club level and that's what I'd like to do.

"That's a long way away though now."

Asked if he hoped Test coach Ricky Stuart had noticed Wednesday night's performance, Gidley said:

"I guess so, I'll just go back to Newcastle now and keep playing well there and see what happens later in the year."

The biggest loser after the Gidley performance is undoubtedly Brett Stewart, who was forced to sit on the bench until deep into the second half.

Stewart did little wrong over the opening two games of the series and was again impressive when brought on in Origin III, but given Gidley's ability to play 80 minutes, his time in a NSW jumper may have come and gone.

Stewart only got on when Danny Buderus was given a breather late in the game, Gidley moving into hooker to replace his Knights teammate.

The Manly custodian admitted to feeling frustrated as he sat on the bench, but said hadn't given up hope of featuring again in next year's series.

"If anyone misses that much of a game they'd be a little disappointed but Craig (coach Craig Bellamy) saw it best for the team if I was coming off the bench," Stewart said.

"I think you've just got to keep playing consistently for your club and when you do get opportunities like this you've got to take them at this level."

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