Soward finally gets Origin chance - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Soward finally gets Origin chance

David Beniuk 15/05/2011 07:55:43 PM Comments (0)

Finally Jamie Soward gets a crack at State of Origin, and NSW coach Ricky Stuart has no doubt the St George Illawarra playmaker is ready.

Soward's premiership-winning performances were at last recognised when he was named as the Blues' five-eighth on Sunday, five years after often being consigned to reserve grade by then Sydney Roosters coach Stuart.

In 2007, Soward was sent packing from the Chris Anderson-coached Roosters to St George Illawarra where, since the 2009 appointment of Wayne Bennett, he'd turned into a consistent performer.

The 26-year-old prodigious point scorer will bring to NSW one of the NRL's best kicking games and the mental steel he has acquired under master coach Bennett.

"I don't really think I have to justify it too much," Stuart said of Soward's selection.

"He's ready to have a shot.

"Jamie has improved immensely in his time at the Dragons under Wayne Bennett.

"He's really matured and developed and you can see the way he's playing his football at the Dragons and the results he's getting, and a lot of it comes off the back of Jamie's style."

Stuart said he had spoken to Bennett about Soward's promotion and had told the master coach: "He's not going to be any more ready next season."

Soward was preferred over Newcastle's Jarrod Mullen, while returning Rooster Todd Carney was not considered after missing three games before Sunday's loss to Cronulla.

The Dragons No.6 is among seven of his NRL clubmates named in the Blues 17.

Winger Brett Morris, centre Mark Gasnier, second-rower Beau Scott and benchmen Ben Creagh, Trent Merrin and Dean Young are the others.

Gasnier will play his first Origin game since 2008, while Merrin and Young join Soward in making their debuts.

Plenty has been made of the Dragons' grinding, Origin-style football, but Stuart said that wasn't necessarily the blueprint for beating Queensland.

"In State of Origin, it's not about too much in regards to game plansand strategy," Stuart said.

"It's about the coach getting the individual to the sideline in the best possible condition, getting his preparation right, getting him to the ground so he can get on the field, so he's physically and mentally prepared.

"Origin football is a completely different animal and it's a different style of coaching.

"It's about having more individual best performances on the day.

"(Queensland coach) Mal Meninga would be coaching exactly the same way."

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