Speed hump Soward becomes E-Tag - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Speed hump Soward becomes E-Tag

David Beniuk 16/05/2011 06:18:44 PM Comments (0)

"Speed hump" no more, Jamie Soward prefers to be known as the "E-Tag" these days, but he's confident of stopping whatever State of Origin traffic is headed his way.

Soward earned the unwanted "speed hump" moniker when he was effortlessly brushed aside by giant centre Greg Inglis in an NRL match two years ago.

His defence has hardly been a major issue since but the unkind nickname has stuck to the 26-year-old who says it will be a "relief" to finally make his Origin debut against Queensland next week.

"The speed hump, I love to call it the E-Tag, it's a bit more modern these days, so I'd like to think the E-Tag might be gone," Soward half-joked on Monday.

"I'm not the only bloke who has missed a tackle on Greg Inglis, I've missed more than one on him.

"(I'm) just looking forward to getting out there, not worried about what everyone else is saying.

"(Coach) Ricky (Stuart) will be giving me directions come game time and, provided I follow that and do my part for the team, I'm sure I'll be fine."

Fine too is the relationship between Soward and Stuart, who banished the prolific point-scoring youngster from first grade at the Sydney Roosters while questioning his toughness.

"Early on in my career, I think that was fair enough," Soward said.

"I was obviously going up and down a bit with my form and since then I've worked hard to turn it around.

"I've had a few good years at the Dragons and I feel my footy's gone upwards since then so I'm looking forward to working with Ricky again.

"He's a smart man and I think he's a very passionate New South Welshman most importantly."

Soward's game has come on in leaps and bounds since master coach Wayne Bennett placed his faith in him.

"Obviously Wayne Bennett has been a massive part and he knows what I think of him privately and the advice he's given me privately so I don't need to play that out (publicly)," Soward said.

"But everyone knows who has helped me and I have thanked them privately before I came into camp today."

Soward is among five players making their Blues debut, three of them Dragons.

Canberra fullback Josh Dugan and Newcastle winger Akuila Uate will join Soward's clubmates Trent Merrin and Dean Young in pulling on the blue jersey for the first time.

Merrin said Bennett had given him one piece of advice.

"Just keep quiet and don't say anything, that's what he said," Merrin said.

"I think just because I'm the joker of the Dragons, I say a lot of stupid things.

"So he just said keep your mouth shut and run with it."

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