Bellamy quiet over NSW backline shuffle - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Bellamy quiet over NSW backline shuffle

By Steve Jancetic 23/06/2009 07:40:33 PM Comments (0)

It may be a sign of desperation, but NSW coach Craig Bellamy says he will keep Queensland guessing as long as possible about the final make-up of his injury-ravaged side.

So close was Bellamy keeping his cards to his chest ahead of Wednesday night's must-win game two of the Origin series, you could almost see an imprint of a spade on his shirt.

Nothing was set in concrete, with captain Kurt Gidley not even guaranteed a start at fullback.

"We know what we're doing - a lot of people have been guessing and whatever, where who's going to fit in," Bellamy said.

"We planned a week before if Craig (Wing) was out what we were going to do."

Of course Wing is out, with his strained hamstring opening the door for Josh Morris' inclusion and a myriad of potential positional swaps.

The x-factor is Gidley, who is equally at home at fullback, in the halves or at hooker.

With winger Jarryd Hayne in sublime form playing in the No.1 at Parramatta, Gidley becomes the utility player the Blues lost in Wing.

Reports on Tuesday claimed Gidley would be thrown into halfback if Peter Wallace failed to fire in the opening half hour, but Bellamy dismissed the notion he had lost confidence in his first-choice No.7.

"If I thought I was going to pull him after 30 minutes, I wouldn't have picked him," Bellamy said.

"I've got all the confidence in the world in Peter Wallace.

"He probably wasn't at his best in that first game but there was a few other guys that weren't either.

"He's done the job before for us, I'm not sure where that story came from."

With the Blues having lurched from one injury to another during their week-long camp, Wallace has had any number of players line-up outside him at five-eighth.

Recalled veteran Trent Barrett was there for the first few sessions before his back gave way.

Wing then filled in until his hamstrings could no longer take the strain at which point Gidley had his crack at pivot.

Still Bellamy believes his combinations have had enough time to gel, the under pressure coach singling out Barrett for special praise for the way he has brought the team together.

"His input into meetings has been tremendous," Bellamy said.

"I think that first game everyone was a bit perhaps overawed about being in Origin and no-one was giving a whole heap of input or their opinion in meetings.

"He's been really good. When he opened up in the first one a few of the other guys opened up as well.

"He's been tremendous for us on and off the field."

Queensland too are wary of what Barrett brings to the table after they were able to largely nullify the inexperienced halves combination of Wallace and Terry Campese in game one.

"He's probably come back I would suggest a better player from his Wigan stint, I think he's a better player than when he left," Meninga said of Barrett.

"He's obviously in there for stability and experience and a good kicking game and he can get the team around the park better than maybe they did in the first game ... that's why he's there."

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