Spineless’ Blues need to change: Sheens
By Ian Mccullough AAP Sun, 20 Jun 2010 19:43:49
Wests Tigers and Australia coach Tim Sheens says NSW will never end Queensland’s State of Origin dominance until they develop a settled spine to their side.
The Blues have chopped and changed hookers, halfbacks, five-eighths and fullbacks with alarming regularity in recent years and Sheens said selectors must decide on a playmaking combination and stick with it, starting with next month’s dead rubber at ANZ Stadium.
Sheens also pushed the cause of his skipper Robbie Farah, who has not played for NSW since game two in Sydney last year, as well as workaholic backrower Chris Heighington, who will play for England if he is continued to be overlooked by Origin selectors.
“There is no doubt for NSW to do anything they have to create a spine,” Sheens said.
"It starts at nine. Robbie is the answer to that. You get a seven a six and a one and build around that.
“That is what Queensland have done and you can talk about changing the side but you need the spine, the guys that come up with nine out of 10 decisions are those blokes.”
Sheens, a former City Origin coach, said he was surprised the playmaking combinations used against Country in recent seasons had not been considered.
"Robbie has played with Mitchell Pearce at City, Jarryd Hayne has played City … but there have been a few players overlooked for the Country boys.
“You don’t pick a team by making 10 changes. It’s OK to be able to break a tackle but you need guys who can give you the ball.”
Despite getting put on report for a dangerous tackle on Canberra’s Bronson Harrison in the Tigers’ 18-8 win on Sunday, Heighington was outstanding.
Both Sheens and Farah said NSW’s loss could be England’s gain if he is overlooked again.
“Chrissy will tackle anything for 80 minutes and if they are not careful they will lose him to the Poms, he has a British passport and if he doesn’t play for us he will play for them,” Sheens said.
“He was overlooked for Country as well and if anyone deserves to play for NSW it’s Chris Heighington and I would love to be there alongside him.”
Heighington said he has been frustrated at constantly being ignored and said he was doing all he could to get noticed by Blues selectors, but declaring for England is an option.
“My dad is from Durham and I am very close to that part of the family over there,” he said.
“I have spoken to my close mates Gareth Ellis and Mark Flanagan about it and I would definitely need to sit down and decide if that is what I want to do if I am not going to get picked for NSW.”
“State of Origin is the highest level you can play and that is my ambition and my aim and I would love to be selected in game three.”
good to hear the coach plugging his players and the bit about heighno is interesting
potentionally an international back row 11.Ellis 12. Flanno 13.Heigno
All Lions backrow… nice.