Gus 'endorses' left-field NSW halves combination

Gus ‘endorses’ left-field NSW halves combination

Phil Gould has endorsed a left-field halves combination for NSW, but concedes the pairing of Mitchell Moses and Nicho Hynes will likely get the nod for the series opener.

With a hamstring injury ruling our Nathan Cleary for the series and Cody Walker’s form at club level dipping as the Rabbitohs sit bottom of the NRL ladder, there are two vacant spots up for grabs, with new coach Michael Maguire facing a major selection headache.

Moses has been sidelined since round three with a foot injury but is expected back in round 12 in a bid to stake his claim, while Hynes has been in strong form at Cronulla.

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However, according to the former NSW coach in Gould, there are two other players who Maguire should be looking at to fill the void – Jarome Luai and Matt Burton.

”I could endorse the selection of Luai at halfback and Burton at five-eighth,” he said on Wide World of Sports’ Six Tackles With Gus.

“I know they would do a job, but there’s two trains of thought there. They are totally different players to what Nicho Hynes and Mitchell Moses are. Personally, that’s what I think they will do – but would it be my preference?

“I’ve got a loyalty to Luai and Burton and if I was coaching, that’s who I would go with.

“I wouldn’t hesitate.” 

Luai has featured for his state for the past three series, lifting the shield in 2021, but was axed for the dead-rubber game last year after a string of poor performances.

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Burton on the other hand has only played in the centres at Origin level, but has been performing admirably for the ever-improving Bulldogs this season.

While the two Penrith products are who Gould would like to see picked for the June 5 clash, there’s a growing belief Hynes and Moses will get the nod, despite concerns over the latter’s fitness given a lack of game time.

“My gut tells me if both those blokes are fit … I’d have no hesitation in picking him [Moses] for the game,” Gould said.

“I’m loathe to say that, because I hate picking my teams before the medical and I don’t want to mock anyone.

“But all being well, I just get a feeling that this is what the new coach is looking for as a new look in the halves and they’ll take them both.”

Maguire will select his squad for Origin I at the conclusion of round 12. 

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