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Wallace chasing another crack at Origin

By Wayne Heming 11/03/2009 08:25:39 PM Comments (0)

Brisbane halfback Peter Wallace is keen to repeat the hot season start which earned him shock State of Origin selection for NSW last year.

Wallace couldn't ask for a better chance to make an immediate impact than going head-to-head with champion North Queensland No.7 Johnathan Thurston in Friday night's NRL season-opener at Suncorp Stadium.

After that it's Melbourne's Cooper Cronk, Kiwi international Stacey Jones, who's come out of retirement with the Warriors, Dragons No.7 Ben Hornby and finally young Rooster Mitchell Pearce, who made his Origin debut in game three last year when Wallace was injured.

Wallace came out of the blocks fast in his debut season for the Broncos last year, stepping into the play-making role as skipper Darren Lockyer battled with knee issues.

Asked if he was keen to duplicate his flying 2008 start, Wallace said: "You always hope to do that.

"I'm just hoping to play some consistent footy for the first month."

Outplaying Thurston - the game's No.1 halfback in recent years - would be a good way to start and also to jog Blues selectors' memories.

"I suppose so mate," said Wallace, wary of giving the Cowboys anything to pin up on the dressing room wall before the big clash.

Former champion halfback Allan Langer, who is on the Broncos' coaching staff, has been impressed with Wallace's early trial form.

"You can see he's got more confidence and he wants to be leader and take some of the pressure off Locky," said Langer.

"Like any halfback he'll want to get the ball in his hands and I'd like to see him touch it as many times as he can."

Wallace and Lockyer will have a young and inexperienced backline to work with, inexperienced "juniors" Alex Glenn, Jharal Yow Yeh and Antonio Winterstein handed big opportunities by new coach Ivan Henjak.

"They're a confident groups of kids, they'll go well," said 23-year-old Wallace.

"It will be a big night for them.

"They just have to enjoy it, don't think about the game too much."

Henjak and his coaching staff have spent a lot of time getting Brisbane's defensive structure right.

"If we hold the ball and defend well, the first month or so, that's what wins you games," he said.

"Weather permitting we'll play with the ball a bit and I'm sure they will too."

Wallace tipped Brisbane's front-rowers Nick Kenny, Joel Clinton, Dave Taylor to do more with the football if conditions are fine.

"I've noticed those bigger guys have a lot more skill and we'll be looking for them to use that as well," he said.

"If you can pop a couple of off-loads and they stick, you can play a second phase game and get on a roll."

Bench utility Steve Michael (wrist) trained strongly on Wednesday suggesting he will play against the Cowboys.

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