Rugby league immortal Andrew Johns has named the two wrecking-balls he hopes the NSW Blues will name.
Rugby league Immortal Andrew Johns has called on the NSW Blues to go with wrecking-balls Junior Paulo and Payne Haas as the starting props for this year’s Origin series.
Paulo, 27, has once again been a standout front-rower for the Eels, averaging 123 run metres per game while establishing himself as one of the game’s most dangerous players in one on one situations when metres out from the try-line.
While 21-year-old Haas, who’s been limited to just three games this season due to suspension, has picked up from where he left last year by averaging 177 run-metres per game.
Both stars featured in all three games during last year’s Origin series, with Haas starting in games two and three and Paulo starting in just the series opener. Knights prop Daniel Saifiti was the only front-rower who started in all three games.
Johns, who’s a specialist development coach with the Eels, said he’s been impressed with Paulo’s development as a leader.
“My favourite forward to watch in the game,” Johns told Wide World of Sports’ Freddy & The Eighth.
“He’s the leader, the big dog, he’s the alpha male and they all follow him.
“His performances this year, you just shake your head.”
The Newcastle Knights great said there’s no forward in the game who can run harder after 20 minutes than Haas.
“It’s amazing when you watch Payne,” he added.
“Watch him this weekend, around that 20-25 minutes where other forwards start to paddle, he’s still running as fast as anyone on the field.
“He leads everything at training.”
With Saifiti starting all three games last season, Johns said he hoped Blues coach Brad Fittler could still find a way for all three to fit in as part of a ploy to own the first 20 minutes of the series opener
“I was thinking about this last night,” Johns said.
“Origin one as is always, the first 15-20 minutes is just a bash-up,
“Daniel Saifiti will be there somewhere. Whether you start with Junior, Payne and Daniel Saifiti in the middle, and just wind them up.
“Get out there and hurt them.”
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