Gasnier can scare Queensland: MacGregor - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Gasnier can scare Queensland: MacGregor

By David Beniuk 04/05/2011 05:40:45 PM Comments (0)

NSW can strike some fear of their own into Queensland when a resurgent Mark Gasnier matches up on Greg Inglis in this year's State of Origin series, says former Blues centre Paul McGregor.

St George Illawarra's Gasnier is considered a near certainty to reclaim his spot at right centre for NSW, renewing a rivalry with left-side Test star Inglis.

The Dragons star has bounced back to be close to his best, reaping the benefits of his first full pre-season since returning from French rugby union.

Country Origin's Joel Thompson and City's Beau Champion will play on the right in Friday night's Origin trial in Albury but it appears Blues coach Ricky Stuart has decided on Gasnier, with Test utility Jamal Idris the only other possibility.

McGregor, a former Dragon and an assistant to Country coach Laurie Daley, says Gasnier has the ability to come out on top when Origin kicks off at Suncorp Stadium on May 25.

"They've had some good challenges in the past and I'm sure every time they meet it will be no different," McGregor told AAP on Wednesday.

"You've got two six-foot-three guys at a hundred kilos strutting their stuff and both have got good feet, good fend, so it's always a challenge.

"It's (the one who) gets the football in the right position of the field that's probably going to have the tick next to them at the end of the game."

Inglis has taken time to settle in at new club South Sydney but looked a fearsome sight in full stride during last weekend's 31-12 win over Cronulla.

Gasnier also took time after 18 months in rugby, but McGregor said the 29-year-old 15-Test star was back to his best.

"Someone with that ability never loses it but the game he played was very different to the game he played when he came back," he said.

"Obviously he'll be in the forefront of Origin selection in a weeks' time.

"The biggest thing about his football is getting clean, early ball and (his playmakers are) confident to go to him.

"He's found his niche a bit in the last month, some of the things he's doing, he's back to where he was before he left.

"His body shape was a lot different when he came back and he's got that right.

"Once you get that right you get your confidence back and, once you get your confidence back, your ability starts to take over and I think that's what he's showing now."

McGregor said the Blues' left centre position would be decided on Friday night, when Country's Josh Morris and City's Michael Jennings do battle on opposite sides of the field.

"It's probably one of the positions that's definitely not chosen yet," he said.

"You've got two right centres in Gasnier and Idris where, (for) the left side, what's on show on Friday night is what's available."

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