Lewis gets Stuart call out of the Blue - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Lewis gets Stuart call out of the Blue

Ben Horne 29/05/2011 06:55:03 PM Comments (0)

Penrith star Luke Lewis says he's been buoyed by a phone call from NSW coach Ricky Stuart as he attempts to force his way into the team picked for State of Origin II.

If Stuart is to make subtle changes to the Blues side, experienced representative player Lewis will come into contention.

Their phone correspondence after Stuart left an underdone Lewis out for game one, indicates the respect the Blues mentor has for the backrow utility - and how he has every chance of forcing his way back into the 17.

The versatile Panthers veteran only had one match back from injury to prove himself ahead of the opener at Suncorp Stadium, however it's generally accepted his work ethic and talent makes him perfectly suited to the rigours of Origin football.

Lewis has a perfect opportunity to prove himself in Monday night's clash with South Sydney at Centrebet Stadium.

He said he appreciated a call of support from Stuart - who advised him to keep working hard to put himself back in the selection frame.

"Ricky gave me a call and said I've just got to get some game time under my belt and he said thanks for putting your best forward and trying to do your best to get into the team," Lewis said.

"He just talked to me and told me what he wanted me to work on and what he wanted me to do so it was really good to get a bit of feedback.

"I really appreciated that phone call, I didn't expect it but it's definitely a nice call to get off the NSW coach."

Stuart is hesitant to make changes for the crucial second tie at risk of damaging the team fabric he established in his first camp.

However there's few better team players in the competition than 27-year-old Lewis.

The inspirational Panthers leader said he'd be comfortable coming into the side without the grounding of game one.

"I've had the opportunity to play there with some of those guys which has been a great experience, I would love to get back there and do my best for the team ... it's a massive game," he said.

"But I found the other night the team was really tight-knit and they really worked for each other and I think that's what it's all about ... see how we go I guess.

"At the end of the day I'm a NSW person, I'm proud to be a NSW Welshman and I really don't care if I'm watching from the sideline or out on the field.

"As long as we put our best foot forward to get that trophy back to NSW that would be unreal."

According to Lewis, the Panthers will need to shut down key Bunnies Chris Sandow, Issac Luke and Rhys Wesser to be any hope on Monday night.

He's confident centre Michael Jennings will carry on his strong form from Origin I into the important Rabbitohs clash.

"We just hope he gets involved around the ruck and see how it goes from there and hopefully he gets some ball and some broken play," Lewis said.

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