Wallace has the Blues - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Wallace has the Blues

By Wayne Heming 27/03/2009 06:44:58 PM Comments (0)

Another standout game against the physical Warriors in enemy territory on Saturday would help Brisbane halfback Peter Wallace build his case to reclaim his NSW State of Origin jumper.

Blues' selectors face a No.7 conundrum with Mal Meninga's Maroons threatening to inflict an embarrassing and unprecedented fourth straight series defeat on them later this year.

A damning statistic during Queensland's three-year dominance has been the number of men tossed into the NSW No.7 jumper.

While Johnathan Thurston has played 12 Origins straight for Queensland since 2005, the Blues have chopped and changed with six halfbacks in nine games.

Since Brett Finch played the opening two games of the 2006 series, NSW have used Craig Gower, Jarrod Mullen, Brett Kimmorley, Wallace and youngster Mitchell Pearce to fill the key organiser's role vacated by halfback of the century, Andrew Johns.

The return of Trent Barrett gives NSW selectors more options in the halves this year.

Wallace's opposition is plentiful with Pearce, Mullen, Finch, Kimmorley, Brett Orford and Ben Hornby all in the running.

Sportingbet Australia framed a NSW Origin halfback market this week with Wallace a $2.10 favourite from Mullen $2.75 with Jarrod Mullen and Kurt Gidley quoted at $9.

Last year Wallace was a bolter selection for the opening game following an impressive debut for Brisbane when skipper captain Darren Lockyer was sidelined with a knee injury.

He has already been instrumental in Brisbane's narrow wins over Cowboys and Storm this year.

Another eye-catching performance against a player of the calibre of Stacey Jones would make him an even shorter priced favourite.

Wallace gained a lot of confidence after spending time in Origin camps learning from Johns.

His composure and kicking game was a feature of the Blues' 18-10 first game win in Sydney.

Unfortunately he suffered a testicle injury in the return game and was overlooked for the series' decider where the inexperienced Pearce, the son of former Balmain great Wayne Pearce, made his Origin debut.

Wallace, who didn't look out of place in the NSW side, is determined to earn another crack at Origin.

He's started 2009 in much the same vein as last season, in fact, if anything, he looks even sharper following lessons from Johns.

With former Brisbane, Queensland and Australian great Allan Langer joining the Broncos coaching staff this year, the 23-year-old's all round game is getting better every week.

He's running the ball to the line more, kicking impressively through the line and his defensive work around the ruck and on the edges is first class.

"Pete is still only young but he keeps working hard on his game and is still learning," said Langer, who played 34 Origins.

"He is getting the ball in his hands a lot more and taking on the defence and putting them in two minds which is helping take some of the pressure of Locky (Darren Lockyer).

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