The eighth immortal, Andrew Johns, has given his tick of approval to Laurie Daley’s new-look VB Blues side to take the field on Wednesday, claiming Adam Reynolds' kicking game could prove the difference.
Speaking at The Star’s Best In Blue event last week, Johns believes the prop rotation will have a huge influence on the match, and the size of the bench means the VB Blues should dominate through the middle of the park.
The fresh spine was also a hot topic, and Johns predicts the skill and class of Matt Moylan, James Maloney and Robbie Farah will complement the big forwards, while the control of Reynolds is hugely important.
“Adam Reynolds, his big job is just to steer the team around,” said Johns at The Star’s Best In Blue event.
“His kicking game is so important, I think he will get four or five repeat sets, which are absolute gold in Origin.
“I think his kicking game could be the difference.”
It was always a big call moving the now-injured 2015 Brad Fittler medallist, Josh Dugan, out of his most effective position to accommodate Matt Moylan.
Johns approved of the move, however, saying that Moylan will add an extra dimension to the VB Blues attack with his superb ball-playing skills, and that the rest of the spine will work off the experience of Farah.
“I think they’ll play off Robbie Farah, he will control them in the middle of the field,” Johns said.
“James Maloney likes to play that support role, but I think a lot of the ball playing will come from Moylan at the back, even though he’s a fullback, he will play like a five-eighth.”
The large forward pack caught the attention of "the eighth" as well, and he believes the prop rotation will have a massive influence on the game.
“I think Laurie has shown what he is going to do with three big bodies on the bench and Dylan Walker,” Johns said.
“He’s going to attack Queensland down the middle, the surface at ANZ Stadium can be slippery, so hopefully it is wet and slippery [on] Wednesday.
“They’ll start with Gallen and Woods, and then Klemmer and Tamou will come on and terrorise the middle.
“I really like the team they’ve picked, I have no doubt we’re going to take them on through the middle and I think we’ll beat them.”
As arguably the most complete Rugby League player to lace up a boot, Johns’ approval on team selection can only be confidence-boosting for the young players in the team, particularly those in such key positions including Moylan and Reynolds.
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