NSW selectors 'painted into a corner' - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

NSW selectors 'painted into a corner'

By Laine Clark 30/05/2010 02:28:53 PM Comments (0)

Alarm bells may be ringing on the Gold Coast ahead of Sydney Roosters No.7 Mitchell Pearce's NRL return on Monday night under the watchful eyes of NSW selectors.

But Titans coach John Cartwright said Blues selectors had "painted themselves in a corner", making it tough to pick Pearce for June 16's Origin II.

Pearce will be keen to impress in his first game in five weeks due to a shoulder injury - especially with NSW incumbent No.7 Brett Kimmorley feeling the heat.

Titans skipper Scott Prince said on Sunday the classy halfback's return had sounded "alarm bells for our defensive line".

"Before he got injured he was tipped to be the No.7 for the Blues so with him back it adds to their kicking game - obviously there are danger signs," he said.

However, Cartwright believed NSW's beaten Origin I side had to be given another chance after claiming Blues selectors had prematurely played the loyalty card.

Even if that means some of his high profile Titans chargers - including in-form pivot Greg Bird - were overlooked again for Origin II at Brisbane.

"They (NSW selectors) have painted themselves in a corner saying they are going to stick with the side they named first," ex-NSW backrower Cartwright said on Sunday.

"They (NSW Origin I side) deserve a chance to redeem themselves.

"That's a tough one for the selectors to have put themselves in that position." However, an ankle injury suffered by NSW's Origin I pivot Jamie Lyon this weekend may yet change everything.

Both Cartwright and Prince backed Bird for a NSW nod.

Bird will be full of confidence against the Roosters after the Titans confirmed on Sunday they had extended his contract until the end of the 2011 season.

With only Ash Harrison (Queensland) backing up from Origin I, Cartwright almost credited their lack of representative stars with their impressive 2010 record (7-3; equal 2nd).

"It's the toughest part of the year but touch wood we haven't had many injuries and not many players in rep sides so that is a positive for us," he said.

"I think it (representative snub) says a lot about us as a side.

"They work very hard for each other which means you don't get many standouts." And Cartwright wasn't losing too much sleep over his own NSW claims after being linked with the Blues coaching job held by the besieged Craig Bellamy.

"It's a tough ask. Origin is very intense," Cartwright said of juggling NRL and Origin coaching duties.

"You'd think about it once the question was put to you.

"But it's not at the forefront of my mind." Cartwright said Bellamy was being made a scapegoat for NSW being in sight of losing five straight series.

"They are up against a red-hot Queensland side full of confidence," he said.

"They are tough to beat, I think that is what everyone is forgetting.

"If they (NSW) win they get it right and if they lose they have to blame someone." Meanwhile, Josh Graham replaces Joseph Tomane (hamstring) in the Titans centres.

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