11 years. One club. One legend. One of the greatest to ever pull on a Raiders jersey, and what does he get? An origin berth, albeit in the ‘Blues in waiting’ squad. Perhaps 5 years too late.

Yes, you heard correct, 30-year-old Alan Tongue was named in the ‘Blues in waiting’ squad by Ricky Stuart, which is rather unusual, given that most of the other players in the squad are 25 years of age or under.

What makes the selection of Tongue even more ironic or farcical, depending on how you look at it, is that had be been a Queenslander, he would have been picked with no hesitation in their side, which shows the past ineptitudes of the NSW selectors.

Funnily enough also, Tonuge is the only player in the squad that is a club captain, and has over 200 NRL games to his name, so it makes you wonder why he is yet to play an Origin.

“Oh yeah I do feel a little bit old!” he laughed.

“But that’s all good, that’s part and parcel of footy and of life.

“I’ve been lucky enough to play in the NRL for the past 10 or 11 years so that’s been great and it reinvigorate you a bit when you’re around the young guys and their confidence and to be in this situation is obviously a great opportunity for me.”

Whilst he has been selected in the squad, Tongue is expecting that the actual make-up of the 2011 NSW Origin side will consist of mostly younger players, but he concedes that he is learning things from them too.

“I’m not sure about young guys now, the confidence and the way they handle themselves now, they might be trying to show me a few things,” he said.

“I didn’t expect it at all actually, I didn’t know the camp was going to start but obviously I’m rapt to be here and to get the most out of it.

“I suppose it points out that people are watching and you’re in the frame of mind I suppose which is good but I’ve been in these squads in the past as well. You’ve just got to let your footy speak for you.”

By ricky

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