Following Brian To’o’s terrific two try debut for the Blues on Wednesday night, former New South Wales rake, Michael Ennis has held up his hands and admitted that he misjudged the Panther cub’s ability.
“It’s one thing in this industry that from time to time, you’ve got to admit you get things wrong and I got it wrong,” Ennis said on Fox League after the final whistle.
“I didn’t think they would pick Brian To’o, as good as he was going for Penrith, on the sheer fact I didn’t know if he would be able to handle opposing Xavier Coates. Tonight he completely proved me wrong.”
Despite Ennis’ premonitions, the 22-year-old dominated Coates on the left edge in the series opener, and finished his first 80-minutes of representative football with 233 run metres, two line breaks and the aforementioned brace of four-pointers.
With these stats in mind, Ennis was more than happy to continue heaping praise on the winger.
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“Often in your first Origin your lungs are on fire after the first two or three minutes,” he said.
“You have burnt so much nervous energy but as the game progressed his physicality and endurance and strength continued to grow and grow to the point where when that final siren went, I think Brian To’o now believes he is an Origin player.
“I think he’s proved it.”
Fellow Fox League panellist, Braith Anasta added to the discourse by stating that To’o almost missed selection due to his perceived lack of height.
“They nearly didn’t pick him,” Anasta said.
“Only a few weeks ago [there were] murmurs, strong ones, that he was too short.
“There was huge doubt over him making that team purely on the back of his height and the risk that would be with those kicking raids to Coates.”
At 182cms, To’o has proven doubters wrong for the entirety of his time in the game.
Even the Panthers originally had their doubts about the Westmead speedster’s size, as evidenced by the local junior’s cull from the club’s Harold Matthews side when he was just 15-years-old.
However, with his opening to his Origin career set to be remembered for many years to come, To’o may have finally put those that literally and figuratively looked down on him to bed for good.