Mullen causing Smith a welcome headache - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Mullen causing Smith a welcome headache

By Tom Wald 12/04/2009 06:14:48 PM Comments (0)

Newcastle coach Brian Smith has a problem - three doesn't go into two.

Not that the Knights mentor is complaining.

He says it is the sort of headache he likes having with halves Jarrod Mullen, Scott Dureau and Ben Rogers fighting it out for two starting spots in his side.

Newcastle rotated their halfbacks off the bench for the second straight week with Mullen coming on for Dureau and having a hand in three of his team's five tries in a 24-22 NRL win over the Warriors.

Smith said that one would probably have to be axed for next weekend's clash with St George Illawarra in Sydney.

"Sometimes you have to fix things before they are broke in the NRL because, once they are broke, you have not got the competition points," he said.

"We are probably at a point this week where ... it was a little bit easier the previous week, it was a little experiment and probably suited with Jarrod coming back from injury.

"This time around there is a tough call to be made this week.

"Ben is doing some good things himself. I have tried the other (side of things) where we don't have halves and that ain't fun.

"We have three guys who are contributors and we will sort it out this week I guess."

Mullen came on in the 36th minute and a minute later launched a teasing bomb that Kurt Gidley paddled back with Mullen then sending the ball out wide for James McManus's first try of the match.

The former NSW State of Origin player set up another four-pointer in the 57th minute with a precise grubber before five minutes later throwing the final pass for another try.

Smith said Mullen, who has come back from a rib injury, had made the Knights more dangerous in attack.

"He certainly changed the pace of it, any time the ball was near him," Smith said.

"Everything seemed to go a little bit quicker and had a bit more threat about it.

"Having said that, Scotty got us off to a really good start as well he came up with some very nice plays."

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