Elias says Ennies will reignite Blues - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Elias says Ennies will reignite Blues

By Wayne Heming 17/04/2009 01:40:23 PM Comments (0)

Former State of Origin warrior Benny Elias believes Bulldogs hooker Michael Ennis is a player who could restore passion and even hate to the Blues for this year's defining series against Queensland.

Elias says it's a "coin toss" between Ennis and Wests Tigers captain Robbie Farah in the battle to replace Danny Buderus in the Blues pack.

He's a great supporter of the skilful Farah who, he says, leads his former club by example.

But Elias also sees eerie similarities between himself and Ennis's combative approach, having engaged in many spiteful battles with Queensland rival Steve Walters during the brutal Origins of the 1980s and `90s.

Elias would be happy to see either hooker get the selectors' nod but agrees the pesky Ennis has the ability to annoy his opposition.

"We've been smacked for the last three years and we need to do something different," said Elias, who played 19 Origin matches for NSW and was man of the match three times.

"It would be nice to see a Blues player instigate that passion again.

"It would be even nicer having someone from NSW hate the Queenslanders as much as they hate us."

Apart from being a very skilful, tough and creative hooker, the passionate Elias was a genius at putting Queensland players off their game with his ability to niggle them until they snapped.

"You know your teammates are going to look over you and I think that's why players like playing with Ennis," he told AAP.

"That's what togetherness is about.

"Origin is one of those unique games where you do the extraordinary.

"It's the toughest football you can play by a mile, much tougher than playing for Australia.

"Michael (Ennis) has been playing great football, it's not by luck the Dogs have only lost one game."

Ennis makes no apologies for his aggressive style.

"I really enjoy the contest and I give it everything I have," he said. "It's just the way I play.

"Early in my career, I felt I had to explain myself to people. But I'm pretty comfortable with the person that I've become."

Elias said Ennis showed when Penrith captain Petero Civoniceva became riled with him recently that he could get under any player's skin.

"Petero is the calmest player in the game but Ennis upset him.

"Players like playing with him because he is such a great competitor.

"He's tough, he's aggressive in defence, there's not many mistakes about him."

Along with players like Mark Geyer and Les Boyd, Elias was hated by Queensland fans as much as NSW fans hated Wally Lewis.

"You have to use it to your advantage; stuff them. The best answer is on the scoreboard," Elias said.

"As long as you shoulder up with the players around you, that's all that counts.

"That's how I see Ennis at the moment. He leads by example and so does Robbie.

"There's not much in it. It's a toss of the coin.

"They're both very apt for the job. There's a very fine line between them.

"The big plus for Ennis is that (Peter) Wallace is going to be the NSW No.7 for sure, no question.

"Wallace will be the No.7 and Ennis has played a lot of football with him (at the Broncos in 2008).

"That has to be a massive kick for Ennis.

"But I'm a huge fan of Robbie's. He's very creative and very passionate as well."

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