True Blue Nathan Hindmarsh believes Parramatta Eels back-rower Shaun Lane has what it takes to succeed in the State of Origin arena but added he will have to beat out a hot field to earn a maiden jumper for the Westpac NSW Blues.
Hindmarsh yesterday joined Westpac NSW Blues coach Brad Fittler, Harvey Norman NSW Sky Blues coach Kylie Hilder and True Blue Steve Menzies for a free football clinic in Harden as part of the NSWRL Regional Hogs Tour to promote registrations for the 2023 Community Rugby League season.
Lane, who was one of the stars for the Eels last year after scoring two tries, making seven linebreaks, 38 offloads, 767 tackles and running for 3,388 metres with an average of 130 per match, was included in a preliminary Origin squad that met recently at the NSWRL Centre of Excellence.
The Blues used Liam Martin, Cameron Murray, Angus Crichton, Siosifa Talakai, Tariq Sims and Lane’s Eels teammate, Ryan Matterson, as options in the back row last year.
“He’s got a few tricks in his bag, Shaun, so I don’t mind the way he plays, and they’ve worked out the way he plays and how to get the best out of him,” Hindmarsh said.
“There’s a lot of good back-rowers out there but from what we saw from him last season at the Eels I can’t see why he couldn’t play for the Blues.
“It’s important to have that back-rower out there that knows how to hit a hole and he knows how to do that, and that late offload and his height has got to be an advantage.
“If he does get the call-up, I think he’ll do the job.”
Hindmarsh, Fittler, Hilder and Beaver last night also attended the centenary celebrations for the Harden Hawks, with the Group 9 competition formed at the Grand Hotel, Harden, in 1923.