As James Roberts sits in rugby league purgatory, a debate has began over who should take the field for New South Wales at right centre. You simply can’t pick Roberts, arguably the most quiet of New South Wales’ backs last series, and a man not even getting picked to play at club level. So naturally, a host of names have been thrown in the ring.
Utility prospects Jack Wighton and Clint Gutherson have been mentioned, though would be pushed into a spot neither have played for quite some time. Jarrod Croker, since his NRL debut in 2009, has never played on the right hand side of the park, as well as some defensive issues in terms of rushing up too quickly. Nick Cotric has very little experience in the centres. Which leaves two candidates.
Josh Morris, a proven performer, could easily get the nod, but with his age there would certainly be some question marks over the veteran. But who else could Freddy Fittler choose to don the New South Wales’ number four jersey?
A young man by the name of Jesse Ramien.
Ramien made the move from Cronulla to Newcastle this season, and though he hasn’t grabbed the headlines that he did in 2018, you must have a closer look.
Ten rounds into the season, and Newcastle are yet to concede a single try to an opposition left centre. Ramien needs early ball at the Knights, but playing outside of the predicted right side for the Blues in Adam Reynolds and Tyson Frizell, he’d see a lot more of the footy, and put his monster frame to use.
One of the main factors for picking Ramien is the man he’d be opposing.
It seems a certainty that Walters will pick Cowboys’ half Michael Morgan at left centre, a match up that would have Ramien licking his lips. If Greg Inglis was still playing and Walters elected him at left centre, I think you’d have to err towards Morris, a man that has defended opposite Inglis and shut the future Immortal down countless times in the Origin arena. But with Walters set to select Morgan out of position, now is as good a time as ever to blood Jesse Ramien.
The Indigenous All Star will play Origin at some time of his career. While he is only 22 years-old now, you may as well introduce him now against a less than formidable opponent in Morgan, and give that taste of Origin football. And if he fails, or doesn’t live up to the hype in his first Origin game?
You could give him another chance, but you’ve got Josh Morris next in line, and you already know what he’ll bring to that arena. At least Ramien would know where he needs to improve to ensure he’s picked for Game I in 2020. What’s there to lose?