Dumped NSW forward Luke Lewis isn’t waiting for an SOS call from coach Laurie Daley for the State of Origin decider – but that doesn’t mean he won’t pick up the phone.
Daley could be on the lookout for a new utility after second-rower Josh Jackson was put on report for a lifting tackle in Canterbury’s 24-12 win over Penrith on Saturday night.
The NRL match review committee’s charge sheet comes out on Monday.
And should the 24-year-old cop anything more than a one-game ban, Lewis could be in line for a recall after yet another vintage performance for Cronulla in their 30-28 comeback victory over Newcastle on Sunday afternoon.
Lewis, 31, has yet to appear in this year’s series after being dropped for game one in Sydney.
“If you get picked then you definitely take the opportunity,” he said.
“But I know `Loz’ is trying to build a new team by getting young guys in there and I totally understand that.
“I’m all for what’s best for NSW. I’m enjoying my footy at Cronulla at the moment so we’ll see how it goes.”
Lewis proved just how valuable a utility he can be after winding back the clock to score a match-turning try from the wing that kickstarted Cronulla’s avalanche of points.
The former winger found space down the sideline before sending the ball back infield and then backing up Ben Barba to take the final pass for the try.
“I remember I coached him in the Junior Kangaroos team. Luke Rooney and Luke Lewis were the two wingers I had in the team,” Sharks coach Shane Flanagan recalled post-game.
“It was a fair team. Johnathan Thurston halfback, Cameron Smith the hooker, so I can remember back then and he still has some good wheels under him, Luke.
“He can run when he has to and just to keep pushing and pushing and to come up with the try in the end was special for him. I thought he was great. He led by example like the senior player he is.”
Lewis’ touchdown could’ve been an eight-point try after Knights forward Tariq Sims was put on report for whacking him on the jaw in the act of scoring.
Lewis said Sims had apologised after the tackle, then nominated him as the more likely replacement should Jackson be rubbed out of the decider.
“I did get hit pretty hard around the jaw but I know (he) didn’t mean it,” he said.
“He even said sorry to me after it and then after the game as well.
“Tariq’s playing good footy, he’s a good young kid and he’s definitely going to be (in Origin) in the future.
“I’m not really thinking about Origin at all to be honest.
“I just hope the boys get the win and keep that trophy here.”