Wing flies back into Origin contention - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Wing flies back into Origin contention

By Todd Balym 09/05/2009 01:37:30 PM Comments (0)

South Sydney veteran Craig Wing has closed in on an unlikely NSW recall after proving he remains the game's most valuable utility.

Wing came off the bench to replace injured City five-eighth John Sutton after just 10 minutes in Friday night's 40-18 victory over Country in Orange.

He combined brilliantly with halfback Peter Wallace, scoring one try and having a hand in another despite barely training in the position all week.

Despite being overlooked for NSW's 40-man preliminary squad, Wing has catapulted back into contention with selectors well aware of his Origin experience having played 10 games between 2003 and 2006.

With Kurt Gidley certain to be named fullback for this year's series, Wing is fighting with Penrith's Luke Lewis and possibly Canberra's Alan Tongue if NSW selectors look for a genuine utility on the bench.

Blues selector Laurie Daley said Wing had come from nowhere into selection reckoning with his performance in the Origin trial.

"Craig was probably behind the eight-ball in regards to that position but he certainly played well," said Daley.

"He showed his versatility didn't he. That is something NSW has been looking for.

"He is a chance because he can play seven, six, 13 if he had to, nine and the outside backs.

"It is a position that we need to fill. I'm sure he will come into contention."

Lewis didn't get a chance to show his talent in Orange as he was 18th man for the Australian Test team in Brisbane but he remains the favourite for the bench role.

Tongue is the sentimental pick for league fans across the nation, the highly respected Canberra captain a standout in a Country side that was well beaten.

City coach John Cartwright believes Wing is the man to fill the position.

"He is a great player to have off the bench. He is capable of playing a lot of positions and does well in them all," said Cartwright.

"If they're looking for a utility guy on the bench, he has done it before and won grand finals and played halfback in a grand final winning team and played five-eighth there tonight.

"He plays hooker, he can play fullback, he is perfect."

There were up to 15 NSW positions up for grabs heading into Friday night's clash but several standout performances by key personnel has almost assured them of Blues jerseys.

Man of the match Wallace, hooker Robbie Farah, centre Michael Jennings and lock Luke O'Donnell put forward irresistible cases for NSW selection in a winning City side.

With only injury standing in Wallace's path to a No.7 recall, Jarrod Mullen's best chance seems to be in the contentious five-eighth position after Terry Campese produced a mixed performance.

Of the other Country players, wingers Joel Monaghan and James McManus were brilliant, while prop Michael Weyman looks a likely option up front.

But despite Monaghan and McManus's strong performances, their positions are far from certain given City duo Jarryd Hayne and David Williams scored tries and have Test experience.

"I thought he was probably the standout winger," Daley, also the coach of the Country team, said of McManus.

"I thought he just got us out of trouble.

"From where he has come from to where he is now on the verge of playing for NSW, he is to be congratulated."

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