NSW Origin door will open for only a few - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

NSW Origin door will open for only a few

By Todd Balym 07/05/2009 04:37:49 PM Comments (0)

Aspiring NSW players can put one foot through the State of Origin door or have it slammed in their faces when City and Country do battle in Orange on Friday night.

In a match eve warning, Blues selector and Country coach Laurie Daley says this game will carry added weight at the selection table when the 40-man preliminary squad is culled to just 17 for Origin I in Melbourne on June 3.

"If you do have a good game you will certainly be at the forefront of selectors' minds and your name will be in lights," said Daley.

"It is a pretty strong indication I suppose in certain positions that you're one foot in the door.

"If you do play a bad game you're not out of the running for a NSW State of Origin position but what tends to happen is if your opposite number plays a lot better than you it will certainly put him right in the frame and you may fall back a couple of places."

The City-Country game is filled with interesting head-to-head battles for NSW jerseys including: Robbie Farah v Michael Ennis, Peter Wallace v Jarrod Mullen, Michael Jennings v Jamie Lyon and Keith Galloway v Michael Weyman.

But Daley has told his Country players that they must put the team before individual glory or they risk jeopardising their own performance.

"Team success will bring individual success, not the other way around," he said.

"They need to be really careful that they're not trying to over-play their hand and try to do the brilliant things.

"They need to make sure they get the basics right and work hard and do their job."

But City coach John Cartwright has given his players the freedom to go out and play it as they see it, even if it means over-playing the game.

"I would much rather that than sit back and watch the game go by," he said.

"Our message to the players has been don't sit back and wait, if there's an opportunity you take it."

City skipper Farah says he won't be out playing as an individual as he knows a victory will give him a better shot at winning the Blues No.9 jersey over Ennis.

"You don't want to go out there and try to be an individual, it is still about the team performance and getting the win for City," said Farah.

"Individual performances are important, but as a team winning the game is going to help push our names.

"(This game) probably does carry a bit of extra weight, but a good game tomorrow night does not guarantee you an Origin spot."

While Friday's clash will have a big influence on selectors, there are three weeks of NRL games before the team is named for Origin I.

For Mullen and Wallace, they both face some of the best halfbacks in the game and Origin rivals before the team is named on May 25.

Mullen faces Scott Prince (Titans), Mitchell Pearce (Roosters) and Johnathan Thurston (Cowboys); Wallace tackles Dally M winner Matt Orford (Sea Eagles), Prince (Titans) and Kiwi captain Benji Marshall (Tigers).

"They're all good halfbacks. It's a challenge every week playing them and hopefully I can keep getting the wood up on them," said Mullen.

"If you play well in this game and not for the rest of the four weeks you won't get picked. This is just a stepping stone."

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