Stay loyal to 2009 Blues, urges Johns - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Stay loyal to 2009 Blues, urges Johns

By Steve Jancetic 31/03/2010 07:31:16 PM Comments (0)

NSW great Andrew Johns has implored state selectors not to forget the Blues players who came of age in last year's Origin finale when the time comes to name the side for the 2010 opener.

The Blues salvaged some pride with their 28-16 dead-rubber win at Suncorp Stadium, and Johns believes several members of the young squad finally learned what it took to win in rugby league's toughest arena.

And despite the ten-month gap between games, Johns called on selectors to show faith in game one of this year's series at ANZ Stadium on May 26 as the blues look to end Queensland's four-year dominance of the interstate battle.

"Sometimes you've got to look at the guys who won the game in the third one and maybe stay loyal to them," Johns said at the NSW Origin season launch in Sydney on Wednesday.

"I think the young players realise what the difference is between Origin football and club football now and took huge steps last year and you'll see (the benefits) this year, they'll keep going forward."

Asked if Blues selectors relied too much on club form than on past Origin deeds, Johns - who will again serve as an assistant to Blues coach Craig Bellamy - said: "I don't know if we've been guilty of that in the past, but some guys took some huge steps last year and I'd love to see them get a shot again."

Bellamy admitted some players had "built points" during last year's series in relation to holding onto their sky blue jumper, but the man who has overseen NSW's last three unsuccessful campaigns said it was important that people didn't read too much into the fact his side won the final game of last year's series.

"I think a few of them learnt what Origin was all about," Bellamy said.

"If we'd put that much in for 80 minutes in the first two games perhaps we might have got a bit closer to a result.

"There are guys that have certainly built points up in the last two series I've been there.

"Guys who play really well for the whole series, they're the guys that have got their front foot in the door, not so much the guys who played the whole series and only played good in the last one.

"There are guys there you know who really produced under Origin pressure. They are the guys you want in your team.

"There are players made for Origin and others struggle going up to the next level."

Johns pointed to backrowers Anthony Watmough and Ben Creagh as obvious examples of players who developed as the 2009 series progressed, while he also leapt to the defence of incumbent skipper and fullback Kurt Gidley, who is facing intense pressure from Dally M player of the year Jarryd Hayne to retain the No.1 jumper.

While refusing to put a line through any possibilities, Johns pointed to the success of last year's combination with Hayne given a roaming commission from the wing.

"Everyone knows what sort of player Kurt is, he suits Origin down to the ground," Johns said.

"What works in Origin isn't the same as what works at club level - it doesn't matter what number you've got on your back, you get out there and play.

"Even though Hayne was on the wing last year he popped up in the middle."

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