’Achilles heel’ in hyped back­line

The Weekend Post - - Sport - PETER BADEL

QUEENS­LAND be­lieve NSW’s back­line speed mer­chants could crack un­der the de­fen­sive pres­sure of Ori­gin as Ma­roons stars warned Greg Inglis would tor­ment Blues rookie James Roberts.

Inglis will re­turn to the in­ter­state arena in Ori­gin I on Wed­nes­day night af­ter a 12month, in­jury-en­forced ab­sence and Queens­land’s new skip­per is primed to sub­ject Roberts to an MCG night­mare.

The Blues are con­fi­dent their back­line can torch the Ma­roons with Josh Addo-Carr, La­trell Mitchell, Tom Tr­bo­je­vic and Roberts com­pris­ing the fastest three-quar­ter line in NSW’s Ori­gin his­tory.

But sta­tis­tics un­der­line the NSW speed ma­chines’ de­fen­sive frail­ties, with the quar­tet hav­ing col­lec­tively missed 53 tack­les in the NRL this sea­son.

Roberts’ de­fen­sive flaws were ex­posed by Mitchell in the Bron­cos-Roost­ers clash a fort­night ago and Queens­land are back­ing Inglis – the great­est tryscorer in Ori­gin his­tory – to monster The Jet.

Queens­land winger Valen­tine Holmes ad­mits the Ma­roons are tired of hear­ing about a Blues back­line that col­lec­tively can’t match the in­cred­i­ble Ori­gin record of 30game gi­ant Inglis.

“Look at their back­line and look at ours – we have GI (Inglis) and Will Cham­bers, who have played in mul­ti­ple big oc­ca­sions,” said Holmes, the hat­trick hero in the Sun­corp de­cider last year.

“Ev­ery­one is say­ing how good their back five is (in­clud­ing full­back James Tedesco), but we have GI as cap­tain and we all look up to him.

“Ev­ery­one saw the clash with Roberts and La­trell Mitchell a few weeks ago and GI is the same (as the Roost­ers cen­tre) – he is big and lanky.

“GI will try and palm him (Roberts) off and step out­side him so I have to be ready for his flick pass. GI will try and take on James a lot more, he is ex­cited and pumped for the chal­lenge.”

Queens­land se­lec­tion boss Gene Miles says NSW’s back­line speed can also be their achilles heel.

“Speed is great, but the ball al­ways has to get to them and State of Ori­gin footy is a dif­fer­ent game to­tally,” he said.

“Some peo­ple say af­ter their first game they wish they got more in­volved.

“Hope­fully that is the case with the NSW guys. Yes, they have plenty of speed, but if they don’t con­trol the ball or they don’t get the ball, they will be in­ef­fec­tive.” ed­i­to­[email protected]­spost.com.au face­book.com/TheCairn­sPost www.cairn­spost.com.au twit­ter.com/TheCairn­sPost


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