Campese the man to watch: Price - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Campese the man to watch: Price

By Steve Jancetic & David Beniuk 10/09/2008 07:02:01 PM Comments (0)

Canberra star Terry Campese has made plenty of Raiders fans believers this year, but it seems news of his late season heroics has also filtered its way across the Tasman.

New Zealand Warriors captain Steve Price nominated the powerfully built five-eighth as the man to watch in this year's NRL finals series, Campese's run of form leaving the Test prop stunned.

"I've been looking for him to pretty much fall over or just get shut down," said Price, who admitted to thinking the Raiders' sacking of halfback Todd Carney midway through the year would see Campese and Canberra struggle.

"Every team would have been focusing on him over the last eight weeks and he just continues every week to be the standout of the game.

"I haven't seen that for a while."

Asked to nominate the player they thought would have the biggest impact on the NRL finals series, six captains involved in the playoffs offered up names as predictable as they were clad in purple jerseys adorned with lightning bolts.

Cameron Smith - three votes, Greg Inglis - two votes, Billy Slater - one.

But Price, whose Warriors run into the Melbourne juggernaut in the opening week of the finals was looking further north for his post season star.

"If he plays well I think that could be Canberra's big chance," Price said of Campese.

"It's quite phenomenal to think that the Todd Carney thing's nearly been a great thing for him and the team because he's taken a lot more control over the team and a lot more influence on the team.

"Whether that would have happened if Todd was there I don't know, it probably wouldn't have."

One of the men entrusted with shutting Campese down on Saturday night - when the Raiders open their finals campaign against Cronulla at Toyota Stadium - is Sharks halfback Brett Kimmorley.

The veteran playmaker said he too had been impressed with the transformation in the 24-year-old's game.

"Halfway through the year they were talking about releasing him and I suppose he's showed them how good he is," Kimmorley said.

"I thought he was going to struggle last week because rumours were he was injured, and he played a brilliant game again.

"He's maybe stepped up a level when he was told he wasn't wanted ... and then when Carney was sacked from the club I suppose he's taken responsibility to get better."

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