Smith queries Wing's bench warmer role - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Smith queries Wing's bench warmer role

By Todd Balym 28/03/2009 01:23:35 PM Comments (0)

Craig Wing will make his NRL return off the bench for South Sydney on Sunday, prompting Newcastle coach Brian Smith to question how long the former Test star will be happy with that arrangement.

Wing arrived at Redfern last year determined to shed his utility tag and get the Rabbitohs back on track playing in the halves.

However, Jason Taylor's decision to put Chris Sandow and John Sutton together in the halves, and with Kiwi star Issac Luke holding down the hooking position, Wing has been left to play replacement for Luke and even the Rabbitohs' backrowers.

Smith isn't sure the 29-year-old will be too pleased returning to the utility role Wing performed at the Sydney Roosters.

"He was a tremendous bench player in the initial stages of his career so it will be interesting to see if he becomes that again for them," said Smith.

"It did not sound like he wanted to do that too much. I thought he took the money and came to the Rabbits because he was going to be a starter.

"But he has been out for quite a while so I would imagine he would be OK with it to start with.

"He is a handful when he plays off the bench, that is for sure."

But Smith recognises the danger Luke, Sandow and Sutton possess - even if the trio struggled in the loss to Parramatta last week.

"We will need to be very good on their halves and hooker," said Smith.

"Issac Luke is a real focal point for their attack and going forward. He makes some really good decisions with his dummy half running.

"Their halves are electric if you give them space and time."

Smith has his own concerns heading into the clash at Bluetongue Stadium with Adam MacDougall and Ben Rogers both struggling to overcome viruses this week.

With Jarrod Mullen (ribs), Steve Simpson (hamstring) and Cameron Ciraldo (ankle) all ruled out after injuries sustained in last Monday's win over Cronulla, Smith knows the Knights will need another massive effort to beat the Bunnies.

"Defensively we will need to be every bit as good and maybe better than we were on Monday night," he said.

"We had plenty of reasons to lose that game on Monday night and they just kept finding the one way they could to win.

"We have eight or nine of our top 25 missing and we are still going there to win.

"We are not going there to cry if we get beaten because we have so many players out."

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