Brett White State of Origin NSW 2007
Could Brett White be the next Enforcer?
All NSW folk remember the good old days of Origin when they had Mark Geyer running around to keep the Maroons honest. The Maroons had it too good for too long; with guys like Mal Meninga, Greg Dowling, Sam Backo, Wally Lewis and Gene Miles all running riot over less daunting NSW players. Big physical hard men, that could really smash and bash the blues.
When NSW decided to select Mark Geyer and unleash him on the Queenslanders, the Blues finally had a player who wouldn’t back down and certainly didn’t take any crap. Who could forget the famous footage of Mark Geyer and Wally Lewis going at each other, with David Manson in between.
If we fast forward to recent times, not since Paul Harrogan or maybe John Hoppoate have the Blues had anyone who struck physical fear into the Queenslanders. While obviously there is less of the ‘biff’ and physical intimidation in Origin these days, the judiciary does seem to be much more lenient and turns a blind eye to the rough stuff in Origin. Love it or hate it, the rough stuff does add to the theatre of State of Origin and thankfully the relevant powers realise that.
Is Brett White the new tough guy to lead NSW in any on field battles? When you think of the real agressive, take no prisoners guys in the NRL you think of: Luke O’Donnell, Carl Webb, and Ruben Wiki. Any of these guys would strike fear into the hearts of most men, as when pushed over the edge – they respond with explosive, rapid fists that send many of todays players running for cover.
The difference between these guys just mentioned – is that they are not only talented and tough forwards, but they are caged beasts – that should things blow up, they can certainly handle themselves.
I actually feared for Danny Nutley recently, in a game against the Cowboys – Nutley struck out in a tackle and connecting and split the forehead of Luke O’Donnell. O’Donnell had to leave the field for a blood bin clean-up – but he was like King Kong unleashed upon return and made a beeline for Nutley (a noted hard man himself) and sent the older Nutley scurrying for cover.
In past State of Origin series we also saw Carl Webb make a fool of Luke Bailey in their on-field battle. Not only did Webb punish Bailey with several fearsome tackles, he lashed out and asserted his brutal authority over Bailey – for which there was no reply.
Can the Blues expect Brett White to fill this role? With all the talk in the media from White, suggesting he can be the enforcer for the Blues – does this mean he will tackle hard and hit the ball up hard? Or does it mean that NSW have a true hard head that can walk the talk if things turn ‘Rumble in the Jungle’?
One things for sure, White will be a marked man – and we wait with great anticipation to see the likes of Carl Webb coming for him and how the Blues rookie stands up to the test.
“Cattle Dog!” – it’s what everyone will be waiting and hoping for.
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Ok. Call me a biased Manly-Warringah fan, but you can’t leave Mark Carroll out of an “Origin Tough Man” discussion.
As for striking fear into the hearts and minds of the Queenslanders, I’m afraid we’ve failed miserably on that front in recent times. Perhaps with the except of Mason.
As for the rest of ’em, Luke Bailey and Jason Ryles might as well have let Carl Webb hog-tie ’em and beat them with a two-by-four for all the resistance they showed in ’05.