If anyone was going to accuse NSW coach Laurie Daley of double standards, then it would be the day after he declared troubled Blues centre Michael Jennings a definite starter for the State of Origin decider in Brisbane.
After getting arrested and charged with offensive behaviour and hindering police over the weekend, the Sydney Roosters three-quarter will be stood down from his club’s match against Gold Coast on Sunday and fined $20,000 – half of which is suspended.
Representatives from both sides of the border were satisfied with the punishment on Tuesday and more than happy for the man-of-the-match from game two to take the field on July 8.
Axed from his state’s breakthrough series win last year after a wild night out in Kings Cross, Blues five-eighth Mitchell Pearce came out in support of his clubmate and believed Daley had made the right decision.
“I’m right behind Loz there,” Pearce said.
“I thought one week with Jenko was more than enough, as it’s come out he hasn’t done much wrong. He made a misjudgment drinking alcohol.
“But as far as the bigger picture I can’t wait to play with him next week.
“Hopefully he has another massive star performance for Origin because I’m more than sure he deserves to be there.”
Queensland centre Justin Hodges – who will play his final game in Maroons colours in the decider – admitted to being “kept honest” by his direct opposite in Melbourne but also welcomed the penalty on Jennings.
“Asked if he was happy Jennings was available for Origin III, Hodges said: “Very happy he’ll be there.”
Meanwhile, Blues skipper Paul Gallen revealed he had spoken to the 27-year-old Jennings in recent days regarding the indiscretion and described the drama as “a blip on the radar.”
“He left the (NSW) camp. He did everything well in camp and he was back preparing for a Roosters game (when the incident occurred),” Gallen told Sky Sports Radio.
“I’ve spoken to Jenko (Jennings) and I said to him myself it’s probably a mistake being out three days before a game and I think he understands that.
“It will just be a small blip on the radar and he’ll be fine.”