In a massive turn around of fortunes, out of favour Roosters bookend Mark O’Meley looks to have the lead in the NSW Origin bench prop race. Coach Craig Bellamy has confirmed he liked what he saw from O’Meley, the big bopper looks to have his nose in front of other contenders such as; Michael Weyman, Keith Galloway and Josh Perry.
There is no secret that the NSW coaching and selection panel want ‘grit’ and ‘aggression’ in their players for the Origin series, and while Weyman was initially a leading contender on this basis, his lack of focus over longer game periods and experience looks to be working against him.
When asked what he though of the props in the Country v City match; Craig Bellamy said:
“I thought (Michael) Weyman had a really good first spell, but I didn’t think his second spell was so hot.
“I thought O’Meley was nearly the best prop out there and he can’t get a game for the Roosters. “I don’t know what he’s done wrong there, and I don’t really want to know, but at the end of the day I thought he was the best front-rower out there. He was probably the most consistent of them anyway.”
Bellamy said he has been looking at the replacement or bench props for the Blues starting line-up, forwards to back-up leading contenders and Test men Brent Kite and Luke Bailey.
He said City front rower Keith Galloway and Country big men Michael Weyman, Josh Perry, Justin Poore and Brett White now had 2 Rounds to impress.
“You’d think at this stage that Kite and Bailey are in the front-running but we need another two, so those other guys need to stand up over the next couple of weeks if they want to play in Origin,” Bellamy said.
The choice of the replacement props is key to the NSW chances; while there is no questioning the ability of Kite and Bailey, they aren’t noted hard men and in recent Origins, the NSW props have been rattled when aggressively taken to. The fire in the belly of O’Meley and Weyman would certainly see their chances rise above the rookie Galloway and Poore.