Infotainment Factory: Joey reveals NSW halves shake-up for 2019

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Wednesday, 3 October 2018

Joey reveals NSW halves shake-up for 2019


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Rugby league Immortal Andrew Johns has revealed the NSW brains trust would pick Luke Keary at halfback for State of Origin if they were picking the team tomorrow.

Keary had an outstanding finals series, winning the Clive Churchill Medal and dominating the second half of the Roosters' preliminary final after Cooper Cronk suffered a broken scapula.

His ability to grab hold of the responsibility of being the primary playmaker on the biggest stage blew Johns away, with the Halfback of the Century claiming he had graduated from "a back up singer to Axl Rose".

Cronk sledges Keary as Roosters party

Speaking to Wide World of Sports for Immortal Behaviour, Johns said he would have picked Keary at halfback in Mal Meninga's latest Kangaroos squad and said the Roosters should succession plan for Keary to take the No.7 jersey from Cronk when he retires.

Johns also revealed that he and Blues coach Brad Fittler had talked immediately after the grand final about playing Keary at halfback in next year's Origin series, leaving veteran James Maloney and young gun Nathan Cleary to fight it out for the No.6 jersey.

"Myself and Freddy had a quick chat about Keary and he's an out and out halfback," Johns said.

"The way Nathan Cleary played Origin this year I think he played more like a five-eighth and James Maloney played like a halfback.

"So if you're picking your Origin team tomorrow it would be Keary at seven and Nathan Cleary at six."

Meninga picked Keary as a standby player after Kangaroos five-eighth Cameron Munster was placed on report for lashing out at Joseph Manu with his foot in the closing stages of the grand final.

However, Munster was not suspended over the incident and was instead fined after the match review committee slapped him with a minor offence - a grade one contrary conduct charge.

Johns said Munster was lucky to avoid a ban but said Keary was breathing down Daly Cherry-Evans' neck for the halfback position.

Cronk may require surgery

"(Cherry-Evans) had a great Origin III, so that would have stuck in the minds of Mal Meninga and also Darren Lockyer, who's a selector, so good on Daly, he's been thereabouts for a while now," Johns said.

"But I think Luke Keary will be snapping at his heels. Luke Keary's gone from being a back up singer to Axl Rose, he can do it all on his own.

"I was so surprised with his performance, the second half against the Rabbitohs but especially the grand final where he had the whole week to think about it, how he had to pass, how he had to play both sides of the field and how he was going to do it.

"Defensively he was strong. Moving forward he's an out and out halfback, his stocks have boomed."

Rugby league Immortal Andrew Johns has revealed the NSW brains trust would pick Luke Keary at halfback for State of Origin if they were picking the team tomorrow.

Keary had an outstanding finals series, winning the Clive Churchill Medal and dominating the second half of the Roosters' preliminary final after Cooper Cronk suffered a broken scapula.

His ability to grab hold of the responsibility of being the primary playmaker on the biggest stage blew Johns away, with the Halfback of the Century claiming he had graduated from "a back up singer to Axl Rose".

Cronk sledges Keary as Roosters party

Speaking to Wide World of Sports for Immortal Behaviour, Johns said he would have picked Keary at halfback in Mal Meninga's latest Kangaroos squad and said the Roosters should succession plan for Keary to take the No.7 jersey from Cronk when he retires.

Johns also revealed that he and Blues coach Brad Fittler had talked immediately after the grand final about playing Keary at halfback in next year's Origin series, leaving veteran James Maloney and young gun Nathan Cleary to fight it out for the No.6 jersey.

"Myself and Freddy had a quick chat about Keary and he's an out and out halfback," Johns said.

"The way Nathan Cleary played Origin this year I think he played more like a five-eighth and James Maloney played like a halfback.

"So if you're picking your Origin team tomorrow it would be Keary at seven and Nathan Cleary at six."

Meninga picked Keary as a standby player after Kangaroos five-eighth Cameron Munster was placed on report for lashing out at Joseph Manu with his foot in the closing stages of the grand final.

However, Munster was not suspended over the incident and was instead fined after the match review committee slapped him with a minor offence - a grade one contrary conduct charge.

Johns said Munster was lucky to avoid a ban but said Keary was breathing down Daly Cherry-Evans' neck for the halfback position.

Cronk may require surgery

"(Cherry-Evans) had a great Origin III, so that would have stuck in the minds of Mal Meninga and also Darren Lockyer, who's a selector, so good on Daly, he's been thereabouts for a while now," Johns said.

"But I think Luke Keary will be snapping at his heels. Luke Keary's gone from being a back up singer to Axl Rose, he can do it all on his own.

"I was so surprised with his performance, the second half against the Rabbitohs but especially the grand final where he had the whole week to think about it, how he had to pass, how he had to play both sides of the field and how he was going to do it.

"Defensively he was strong. Moving forward he's an out and out halfback, his stocks have boomed."

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