Priddis backs Wallace to step up for Locky - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Priddis backs Wallace to step up for Locky

David Beniuk 21/09/2011 07:18:14 PM Comments (0)

Luke Priddis believes Peter Wallace, the young football brain he helped blood at Penrith, has matured into an elite NRL playmaker who can help Brisbane into the NRL grand final.

Wallace, on whose shoulders the Broncos' hopes will now rest in Friday night's grand final qualifier against Manly, can step up to the mark, says Priddis, the former Panthers and Brisbane hooker who was there for the halfback's debut in 2005.

Stepping up will be the former NSWNo.7's brief after champion five-eighth, and halves partner, Darren Lockyer was ruled out with a facial fracture on Wednesday.

"Wal's got the chance to make it his game and control it like what Locky would do," Priddis told AAP.

"He's got a great kicking game, he's got a great running game when he wants to.

"I think this weekend's probably a time when he can step up and increase his running game to take some of that pressure off whoever they're going to bring into that five-eighth spot."

That is likely to be talented utility Matt Gillett, but Priddis said Wallace's maturity with 21-year-old Broncos hooker Andrew McCullough meant the side was already in good hands.

"Both Peter and young McCullough have matured to the extent that not everything in the Broncos' game revolves around Locky any more," Priddis said.

" ... So Locky (has gone) back to playing his natural game and doesn't have to play half and five-eighth.

"Wal's turned into the good, classic halfback that can direct the side around and feeds the ball to the other players when they want it."

The 25-year-old is considered the Broncos' unsung hero in 2011 after the club was able to overcome its traditional State of Origin period slump.

Priddis remembers him as a confident 19-year-old when he debuted against Canberra in 2005.

"He was a good talker on the field and he was one of those blokes that backed their ability," Priddis said.

"He's got a good football brain as we've seen over the last few years as he's matured into a great player up there at Brisbane."

Wallace's departure from the Panthers after 2007, and his graduation to Origin, left a bitter taste in the mouth at Penrith, who also lost experienced half Craig Gower not long after.

"From memory he pretty much wanted to stay," Priddis said.

"He had an offer and Penrith basically let him go, which was unfortunate because later that year obviously Gowey said he was leaving to go to France.

"He dealt with that issue and he's moved on and he's made the most of his opportunity up there.

"Wherever your hat lands, you make it your home and he's done a great job up there and he'd probably like to stay there for the rest of his career."

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