Hoffman not concerned by concussion rule

The ink was still drying on the team sheet when Ryan Hoffman went in search of Robbie Farah and Beau Scott to sort out the team’s most pressing issue: Who was the oldest in the team?

Skipper Paul Gallen’s injury, Greg Bird’s suspension, and Luke Lewis and Anthony Watmough’s omission meant there were just three players over the age of 30 in the Blues line-up for game one.

So it didn’t take them long to figure out who was the oldest.

“We were talking about it when we were coming down the lift,” Hoffman admitted to AAP.

“‘Faz’ has got me by three days. He’s the 23rd of January and I’m the 26th.

“I tell you what – you hit that magical 30 mark and writers start using words like `veteran’ and `stalwart’. But it is what it is.”

Not that Daley’s penchant for young players to begin NSW’s defence of the Origin shield had the 31-year-old worrying about his spot in the team.

Having shared last year’s Brad Fittler medal as NSW’s best and fairest with Jarryd Hayne, the Warriors second-rower felt he didn’t just survive Daley’s cull – he’s earned it.

“I won’t use the term survive, because I feel like I deserve my spot,” he said.

“I don’t think Loz picked a team with youth in mind, necessarily.

“I think he’s gone to pick the best players available and if two players have been comparable, he might’ve gone with a younger player.”

There were concerns about Hoffman’s availability for the series-opener after copping his second concussion in a month during last week’s clash with the Eels.

But Hoffman declared he was ready to play after being cleared by both the Blues’ and Warriors’ medical staff.

“My head is fine. I’ve just had a couple of bad luck things happen,” he said.

“But I’ve been through all of the medical testing with the doc.

“If there was anything I’d be concerned about it, I’d bring it up with the docs but there’s been nothing that’s bothered me.”

This year’s series is the first time the new concussion laws will be tested in the Origin arena.

And while in the past some rules have been abandoned in big matches, Hoffman said it was imperative the NRL kept its stance in relation to player welfare.

“We’ve had to abide by them this year in the NRL and you can’t just chop and change rules for Origin, especially when it comes to players’ health and wellbeing,” he said.

“I certainly applaud the NRL for the rules they’ve brought in.

“I think they’re working.

“Back way back then there might’ve been a chance where I might’ve gone back on on the weekend if I thought I was right.

“But the rules there work. I wanted to go back on, but the doc kept me off and that’s probably the reason why I will be right to play Origin next week.”

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