(Clockwise from top left) Nathan Brown, Jake Trbojevic, Cameron Murray and Victor Radley.
(Clockwise from top left) Nathan Brown, Jake Trbojevic, Cameron Murray and Victor Radley.

Six reasons you can lock in a NSW Origin win

Parramatta's Nathan Brown has emerged as a frontline State of Origin contender as NSW grapple with the finest pool of Blues lock forwards in 30 years.

Blues coach Brad Fittler and chief adviser Greg Alexander having been discussing which middle forwards could wear jumper No.13 and Brown has bulldozed his way into contention alongside Dale Finucane, Jake Trbojevic, Isaah Yeo, Cameron Murray and Victor Radley.

If Brown gets the nod, it will be the first time Parramatta have supplied a NSW lock since Andrew Ryan in 2001.

"There are a plethora of good locks - there is so much depth in the 13 jumper," Alexander said.

Radley and Brown, 27, will clash in Saturday night's big match between Parramatta and Sydney Roosters at Bankwest Stadium. It will be Brown's second game back since serving a two-game suspension for dangerous contact on Titans winger Dale Copley in round two.

Trbojevic, Murray and Finucane are NSW incumbents from last year's triumphant game three and Radley, in particular, has been pushing hard in the opening five rounds.

Yeo has also been impressive for Penrith, as was Brown in his return match against Penrith last Friday night.

It is arguably the best batch of NSW lock forwards since Wayne Pearce, Brad Mackay, Paul Langmack, Gavin Miller and Bradley Clyde in 1990.

 

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Victor Radley is one of a number of outstanding locks in the running to play Origin for NSW this year. AAP Image/Darren England.
Victor Radley is one of a number of outstanding locks in the running to play Origin for NSW this year. AAP Image/Darren England.

"Jake is there, you've got Dale Finucane, Cameron Murray, Victor Radley, Nathan Brown - blokes that wear 13," Alexander said.

"There is an argument that Jake and Dale play like front-rowers - they are all middle players.

"What I like about Nathan Brown is that he's a good advantage line runner. That was evident the other night against Penrith. Any quick play-the-ball, he just takes the metres.

"He is quick, tough and a good ballplayer, which all the 13s are now. Nathan was particularly good in his second stint against Penrith. He's quick over the advantage line and knows when to throw a pass.

"The three we had there last year - Jake, Dale and Cameron - have all started the season well. Victor was very good toward the back end of last year and has started this season in great form.

Brown helped turn the game against Penrith. AAP Image/Brendon Thorne.
Brown helped turn the game against Penrith. AAP Image/Brendon Thorne.

 

"Even the Penrith boy, Isaah Yeo, has been in terrific form. He has split his career between being on an edge and in the middle but has gone exclusively into the middle this year and I thought he was our best player on the weekend.

"But there's still a long way to go and who knows who will be available by the end of the season."

In another one-on-one match-up, Finucane's Storm play Yeo's Panthers on Friday night at Campbelltown Stadium.

Paul Langmack, the former champion Canterbury, Wests and Sydney City lock, agrees with Alexander on the abundance of great NSW locks.

Yeo has taken to the middle well. AAP Image/Brendon Thorne.
Yeo has taken to the middle well. AAP Image/Brendon Thorne.

"There is a great batch at the moment," Langmack said. "They can all play with the ball and all have a great work ethic.

"Brown is a very explosive player but sometimes his aggression and enthusiasm can get him into trouble.

"I like Jake Trbojevic. He is a great defender and has a great ball sense. He is a footballer.

"So are the others but I like Jake because he has been doing it week in, week out for a couple of years now."

Speaking with the media before Brown's return from suspension last weekend, Eels coach Brad Arthur said: "He's just going to have to make sure he curbs that excitement because he's keen to get out there and make it up to the boys for missing those rounds through suspension.

"He's obviously going to be big for us."

Originally published as Six reasons you can lock in a NSW Origin win

News Corp Australia


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