Miles likes Hopoate at centre - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Miles likes Hopoate at centre

Wayne Heming 06/06/2011 05:53:25 PM Comments (0)

Former damaging Queensland centre Gene Miles says NSW smokey Will Hopoate has everything required to be a long-term State of Origin player for the Blues.

The selection of the 19-year-old Mormon ahead of Jamal Idris came from left field after the young Manly wing sensation recently revealed plans to walk away from rugby league at the end of the season to do missionary work for his church.

"It's something I didn't see coming," said a thrilled Hopoate, the youngest player after Brad Fittler to earn a Blues jumper.

"A Blues jersey, I'm pretty blessed".

Miles, a tall, powerfully framed centre with a big fend, sidestep and a one-hand carry, scored a try on debut in the centres in the first of his 20 Origins in 1982.

He told AAP on Monday he believed the son of former controversial Manly utility John Hopoate was "built to be a centre".

"His build is perfect for Origin footy, I don't think that'll be an issue," said Miles, one of three Queensland selectors.

"He's big, he's fast, he's strong, he gets in the air and playing in the centre ... I think that will suit him down to the ground.

"He'll defend two in. You can't get into too much strife there with the people he has inside him."

Having said that, Miles, like many, expected to see Idris's name in the NSW side following the weekend injury to dangerous Panther Michael Jennings who made 11 tackle breaks against Queensland.

"His club side aren't going that well, but I think we would have found a spot for him," said Miles.

Queensland chairman of selectors Des Morris admitted he was "a little surprised" by the selection but added the Maroons would not underestimate Hopoate.

Miles believes the NSW side is more dangerous and has far more points in them than the one picked for the series opener last month.

"You have to be impressed with their bench - Luke Lewis, Anthony Watmough and Kurt Gidley - that's a very strong bench," Miles said.

While the NSW bench has only one recognised prop in Trent Merrin and effectively just two in the squad with back-rower Paul Gallen starting up front, Miles said players like Watmough could push forward without too many problems.

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