Blues hard men vow to look after Soward - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Blues hard men vow to look after Soward

David Beniuk 19/05/2011 01:06:27 PM Comments (0)

The Blues' hard men have rallied behind Jamie Soward, promising to fight fire with fire after Queensland declared the playmaker a target in his State of Origin debut.

The Maroons reportedly plan to give St George Illawarra five eighth Soward's defence a massive test at Suncorp Stadium on Wednesday night, with suggestions his selection is a risk.

The NSW forwards are having none of it, backing Soward and declaring they will give as much back as the powerful Queensland big men dish out.

"He can handle himself, I think he's proved that in club footy," prop Kade Snowden said.

"But if the big fellas want to run at him I'll do everything I can to help him out.

"We'll give them just as much as they give us."

The 26-year-old Soward has expressed confidence that his so-called "speed hump" days are well behind him ahead of his long-awaited Origin debut.

Under Wayne Bennett, St George Illawarra have made suffocating defence their hallmark and Soward has been far from disgraced by missing 19 tackles in nine NRL games this year.

Dragons and NSW team-mates Mark Gasnier and Beau Scott, who defend alongside Soward on the right side, have missed 15 and 19 respectively.

St George Illawarra and Blues utility forward Dean Young said players wanted to play alongside Soward.

"I've got no doubt he can handle anything he gets thrown at him," Young said.

"I'm sure he'll do a wonderful job on Wednesday and he deserves his position as much as anyone.

"I can't wait to be playing with him."

The Blues might have been relieved to hear Queensland's left side will be without champion centre Greg Inglis, the man who earned Soward his old nickname by famously running over the top of him two years ago.

He has been replaced by Melbourne Storm debutant Dane Nielson, although it is expected he will play on the right to allow Willie Tonga to move to his natural side and oppose Gasnier.

Young said the absence of Test centres Inglis and Justin Hodges from the Maroons outfit had not been discussed by Blues coach Ricky Stuart.

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