Thai­day still in hunt for Test jumper

Townsville Bulletin - - SPORT - RIKKI- LEE ARNOLD

AUS­TRALIAN coach Mal Meninga has tipped Bron­cos vet­eran Sam Thai­day to bounce back from a dis­ap­point­ing month, claim­ing the un­der- fire for­ward is in con­tention for the World Cup.

Thai­day was last month dumped from the Queens­land team for Ori­gin II and III be­fore it was re­vealed over the week­end that Bris­bane coach Wayne Ben­nett will not of­fer the 32- year- old a con­tract be­yond next sea­son.

But Meninga will stand by Thai­day if his form war­rants se­lec­tion come Oc­to­ber.

The Kan­ga­roos en­forcer played in the An­zac Test in May and Meninga says he de­serves every chance to re­tain that po­si­tion.

“He’s the in­cum­bent,” Meninga said.

“If he’s play­ing re­ally good footy for the Bron­cos and they go re­ally deep in the fi­nals and he’s in­stru­men­tal in all that, then he’s al­ways in the pic­ture.

“I’m a fan of Sam’s ... he could prob­a­bly play a bit bet­ter but I guess that’s what Wayne is try­ing to ex­tract out of him.”

Meninga knows how re­silient Thai­day is and ex­pects him to prove that over the com­ing months. “Sam’s a proud guy so know­ing him and how he per­ceives him­self, he will want to play to the best of his abil­ity,” he said.

It is un­clear at this stage whether Thai­day will play on af­ter his Bron­cos con­tract ends next sea­son.

Some of the clos­est op­tions for him would be the Ti­tans and Cow­boys, with Gold Coast coach Neil Henry ad­mit­ting yes­ter­day that he thinks Thai­day’s ca­reer is far from over.

“He’s cer­tainly a player you’d look at be­cause he’s a classy player,” Henry said.

“I think he can play another cou­ple of years.”

SPEEDY: An­to­nio Win­ter­stein is rac­ing the clock to over­come a calf strain he picked up last round.

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