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More questions than answers for NSW

04/06/2010 07:57:59 PM Comments (0)

As if trying to prevent a fifth successive Queensland State of Origin series victory wasn't hard enough, the NSW selectors go into this weekend's NRL games still no closer to knowing what the make up of their side will be.

With Jamie Lyon ruled out with an ankle injury, Cronulla's Trent Barrett, Gold Coast star Greg Bird, Canberra's Terry Campese and Souths playmaker John Sutton are all in the running for the five-eighth spot.

And to muddy the waters further, NSW skipper Kurt Gidley, who started at fullback in last month's 28-24 defeat in Sydney, has also reportedly been considered for the No.6 jersey, but will play halfback for Newcastle against Penrith on Saturday.

With halfback Brett Kimmorley failing to impress in the ANZ Stadium opener, Gidley could well find himself playing at first receiver for the Blues with a strong performance against the Panthers, allowing Jarryd Hayne to play fullback in Brisbane.

But according to Queensland backrower Nate Myles, the only player NSW should be looking at for the playmaking role is his Sydney Roosters teammate Mitchell Pearce.

Pearce was a victim of NSW's trigger-happy policy in 2009 when he was overlooked for selection after playing in the series-deciding 16-10 defeat in Brisbane as a 19-year-old 12 months earlier.

And Myles believes Pearce is in the best form of his career and a much better player for the experience of playing in a losing Roosters team last season.

"He is playing so well at the moment, I am obviously a Queenslander and desperate to win this series, but I would be genuinely pleased for Mitch if he was picked," Myles told AAP.

"He has matured so much as a player and is full of confidence. Although last year was a tough season, we all learnt so much from the experience, especially Junior (Pearce).

"He showed against the Titans, who have been so strong at home, last Monday how important he is to us and more than ready to play Origin."

Sharks coach Ricky Stuart, the last man to lead the Blues to an Origin series win in 2005, has no doubt Barrett is the man the selectors should turn to and he will get the chance to go up against Pearce on Saturday at the Sydney Football Stadium.

"We need a guy like Trent ... I wouldn't put my name to it if I didn't think he was up to it, I wouldn't want to embarrass myself," Stuart said.

"We have to look at players that Queensland don't want us to pick and Trent is one of them as he tough and very experienced."

Campese is another player who was discarded after one Origin appearance, paying the price for the Blues' 28-18 loss in last year's opener in Melbourne.

The 25-year-old was outstanding in the Raiders' win over St George Illawarra two weeks ago, but appears to have slipped under the selectors' radar since.

On Sunday, Campese and Bird will battle it out at Canberra Stadium when the Titans head to the nation's capital.

The former Cronulla star, who was named man of the match in two of his four NSW appearances, is favoured by many for the role, but his patchy form this season could work against him.

Brought to you by AAP AAP © 2020 AAP

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