Gidley battling to keep Blues captaincy - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Gidley battling to keep Blues captaincy

By Steve Jancetic 18/02/2010 07:34:28 PM Comments (0)

Kurt Gidley's proposed shift to the Newcastle halves looks set to cost him the NSW Origin captaincy, with the Test utility facing an uphill battle to secure a run in the Blues starting line-up in this year's Origin series.

As if the prospect of holding off a red-hot Jarryd Hayne for the NSW No.1 jumper wasn't bad enough, Gidley will now be forced to do it from five-eighth after Knights coach Rick Stone revealed his desire to switch the 27-year-old to the halves.

A hamstring injury picked up in last week's All Stars clash on the Gold Coast threatened to scupper those plans, though a visit to leading surgeon Dr Merv Cross on Thursday revealed Gidley could be back on the park by round four.

But even if Gidley makes a fist of it at second receiver, he would still have to beat out the likes of incumbent Trent Barrett and the returning Greg Bird for a berth in the NSW run-on side, leaving him most likely to resume the role he made his own as the utility off the bench.

"If you're planning for everyone to be fit, Jarryd Hayne's the fullback without a doubt, and Kurt adds that utility," said former Penrith star Greg Alexander, who shuffled between halfback, fullback and the bench in his six appearances with the Blues between 1989-91.

"Kurt was captain last year but Kurt might not make the run-on side this year so you've got to pick someone else - whoever that might be."

While loath to discuss NSW selections given Test and City-Country sides still have to be picked before Origin I on May 26, NSW selector Bob McCarthy said captaincy potential would not be a factor in naming the Blues starting lineup.

"We just submit the team to the NRL board and the board pick the captain - that's out of our hands," McCarthy said.

"We don't think about who's going to be captain."

Gidley's unavailability however would leave the NSWRL board with a dearth of established captaincy candidates, a situation in stark contrast to their Queensland rivals who would be able to call on any one of Cameron Smith, Petero Civoniceva, Johnathan Thurston, Steve Price should Darren Lockyer not be in the side.

Alexander claimed Gidley would struggle to hold onto the fullback role even if he stayed at the back for the Knights, following the sterling run of performances Hayne put together in the No.1 for Parramatta last season.

"If Jarryd Hayne plays anywhere near what he did towards the back end of last year, he'll be the fullback," Alexander said.

"I don't think it will really matter where Kurt's playing. Jarryd Hayne's the best fullback for NSW, I'm sure even Kurt Gidley would agree on that.

"Kurt's versatility make's him a near certainty to be in the squad - he plays great dummy half, and if he plays in the halves (at Newcastle) he'll have plenty of footy under his belt playing in the halves."

Dr Cross advised Gidley - who has a ruptured hamstring tendon - to wear a brace for two weeks with a plan to resume full training in six weeks.

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