John Sutton 'has X-factor for Origin' - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

John Sutton 'has X-factor for Origin'

By David Beniuk 06/04/2009 05:25:15 PM Comments (0)

NRL ladder leaders South Sydney believe in-form five-eighth John Sutton is ready to take on the troubled No.6 jersey for NSW in this year's State of Origin series.

Sutton has been touted as the solution to the Blues' problems at five-eighth in a stunning opening to the 2009 season, the result of Rabbitohs coach Jason Taylor permanently switching the former back-rower to pivot.

"I think that he's good enough, there's no doubt about that," Taylor told reporters on Monday as South arrived home after their 22-16 win over the Warriors.

"But that's out of John's control, he can't control what the selectors are going to do.

"All he can do is concentrate on his game and train hard and play well and hopefully they'll give him an opportunity, but I don't want him to get bogged down on worrying himself with that sort of stuff."

NSW used Greg Bird, now playing for Super League side Les Catalans as he awaits a court case over an alleged assault, and Braith Anasta for last year's Origin series loss to Queensland.

Anasta, Cronulla's Trent Barrett and Canberra's Terry Campese have been mentioned as possible contenders in 2009, but Sutton has put his case strongest early in Souths' three-from-four start.

Rabbitohs captain Roy Asotasi also backed the 24-year-old, whose partnership with halfback Chris Sandow has forced international Craig Wing to jettison his return to the halves.

"He's a talented player, he's definitely got the X-factor and the skills and I've got no doubt he'd be able to handle State of Origin," Asotasi told reporters at Sydney Airport.

The Rabbitohs went top of the NRL table on points differential with Sunday's victory as the ladder took on an unfamiliar look - most notably with premiers Manly last after four straight losses.

"It doesn't mean that much to be honest, it's just a number at the moment," Taylor said.

"We've had three good wins and we had a loss and we're doing well but I don't feel any big need to say: `Oh, let's calm down here'.

"We're only where we are on the table because some of the teams around us maybe didn't do so well on the weekend.

"We've been up there since the first game so this isn't all of a sudden something miraculous, we just had one win on the weekend."

But Asotasi said that 2007 feeling, which took Souths to their first finals series in 18 years, was slowly coming back.

"We're a lot more of a committed side this year," he said.

"(In) `07 we did well and it just felt like we lost that defence in `08 so our main focus in the off-season was just do a lot of tackling and working on certain areas in defence.

"We're not there yet but slowly."

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