Bigger than normal halfback plans to make his case at the Roosters

When you think of a halfback, you generally think of a smaller player do you not? Guys like Daniel Mortimer, Luke Walsh, Tim Smith, Peter Wallace and so on.

What about, if you had a halfback that weighed in at 104kg, and stood 193cm tall? Would you be shocked? Would it surprise you? Or would you be genuinely interested in seeing how a halfback at that size can perform on the top stage?

Well, for Roosters fans, you will get that chance with Jonathon Ford a potential candidate to play in the halves during Origin time, as Brian Smith explores his options as to who will cover the vacant five-eighth and halfback positions during that time.

Ford, who is 21 and from the Cook Islands has been one of the Roosters best in the training drills, and he will be given an opportunity to prove his worth and show the NRL how a halfback of his size plays during the trials.

Here is some food for thought. Of all the players in the Roosters team, Ford is the second tallest, with only Jason Ryles taller than him, and Ford weighs more than any other member in the back-line for the Roosters.

Ford is no stranger to a pressure environment however, as he has played halfback for Newtown, the Roosters feeder team in the NSW Cup, so he might just be called upon to take over Mitchell Pearce during Origin time.

“I had a bit of a write-up with Newtown when I played halfback last year and they chased it up and said I was the world’s biggest halfback,” said Ford.

“I enjoyed playing halfback. I’d been playing five-eighth all my life pretty much … but it’s not much different. It’s more in the number and a bit more responsibility.”

Ford is a potential candidate to play five-eighth at the start of the year in light of Todd Carney’s injury, but that role is expected to be filled by Roosters captain, Braith Anasta.

“Johno will be a contender for that, but the most obvious thing is just to put Braith back there for a week or two,” said Smith, who brought Newcastle-born Ford down with him from the Knights.

“Johno did a nice job for us last year when he got his chance.

“He’s turned into the world’s biggest halfback Johno. He’s showing the benefits of a second pre-season and a feeling that he belongs in the club.

“He knows everyone and he knows what’s required so it’ll be interesting to see.

“The importance of pre-season for someone like him is massive. If he excels in pre-season games he might just show us that he’s ready to have a crack at it.”

Ford is eager to prove his worth as a halfback during the trials and put to bed any myths that the halfback position is a small man’s world.

“Yeah, 100 per cent, I’d put my hand up,” he said.

“I need to keep training hard and hopefully I’ll pull through. It’s looking like (Peace and Carney) will get a run (in Origin).

“It’s a good opportunity for myself to get out there and show what I’ve been training for.”

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