NSW State of Origin second-rower Josh Jackson has been anointed as the man to hunt Queensland star Johnathan Thurston in next week’s series opener, according to axed Blues assassin Beau Scott.
A pain in Thurston’s backside for the best part of six years, Scott admitted he was disappointed to be one of nine omissions from the team humiliated in last year’s decider.
And while the Parramatta back-rower hasn’t given up hope of featuring later in the series, Scott has crowned Jackson as his heir apparent to hound the Maroons’ orchestrator at ANZ Stadium.
“Jacko’s filled my shoes in that department. I’m pretty positive he can get the job done,” Scott said on Friday at Eels training.
Blues coach Laurie Daley phoned Scott last week to deliver the bad news, an act the 32-year-old greatly appreciated.
“It’s never a phone call he’d like to make, but he’s done it for the greater of the team and going forward,” Scott said.
“You always appreciate it when someone speaks from the heart and gives you the truth behind the story.
“I was a little bit disappointed, as you would be. It’s a great game to be involved in. Laurie’s got his reasons and I support him. Hopefully, the team can do us proud on Wednesday.”
Scott said he would gladly welcome a call-up for game two in Brisbane, but hoped he didn’t have to.
“You always hold hope of getting another opportunity, but I hope not. I hope the boys play really well on Wednesday night and can claim the series in game two and go on from there,” he said.
“It is (unselfish). But I want to see us succeed. I think they’re doing the right things to enjoy the benefits of that. There’s a lot of youth – it’s more of a long-term team than the last couple of years.”
Eels teammate Clinton Gutherson said many a Queenslander would be relieved at Scott’s absence.
“I would be. He’s a bit of a nut on the field. I’d be happy not to have him against me,” he said.