Rookie Wade Graham could hold the key to unlocking NSW’s attacking potential in next week’s must-win State of Origin game, according to star Michael Jennings.
Whether or not he’ll get to play is the million dollar question.
The Cronulla backrower was to leave Blues camp in Coffs Harbour for Sydney on Wednesday to fight a grade-one careless high tackle charge at an NRL judiciary hearing in Sydney in a bid to keep his Origin debut alive.
If he succeeds, strike weapon Jennings believes Graham will not only deliver him more quality ball on the Blues’ left edge but help keep the series alive too.
“With Wado coming in, that adds more to my game,” Jennings said on Wednesday.
“He’s played five-eighth, and having a backrower like that can put you through holes, and ask questions of the other defenders, that’s always a plus.”
The Parramatta centre believes Graham’s Cronulla club combination with pivot James Maloney is another bonus.
“At club level they have that combination so having them two is always a plus,” he said.
The Blues are banking on Graham, as well as development from another nine-day preparation for new “spine” Matt Moylan, Maloney, Adam Reynolds and Robbie Farah, to spark their stuttering attack.
Blues greats Andrew Johns and Phil Gould led a barrage of criticism of the Blues’ game plan in game one, which conjured just one try in a 6-4 defeat at ANZ Stadium and left them on the cusp of series defeat.
Tellingly, NSW have averaged just 10 points and have topped 14 points just once under coach Laurie Daley’s 10-game tenure.
“I don’t think it’s the preparation. I think Loz (Daley) and the staff here have done an awesome job in getting everyone ready for game one,” Jennings said.
“Our kicking game was good, (Adam Reynolds has) got a good kicking game.
“But we do need to score some more tries. It was just one of those games in game one, it’s more executing and making sure that we do the right job.”
The Blues have their first training session on Wednesday.