True Blue Steve ‘Blocker’ Roach has compared Luke Keary to champion halfback Peter Sterling and believes his performances for the Sydney Roosters this season has him ‘pencilled in’ for the Brydens Lawyers NSW Blues No.6 jumper.
Keary has been on the cusp of selection for the Blues the past few seasons only for injury to cruel his chances of a State of Origin debut.
The 2018 Clive Churchill Medallist has been in scintillating form during the revamped NRL competition, steering the Roosters to four consecutive victories to start their campaign which included a 24-10 win over the previously unbeaten Eels in Round 6.
Roach lauded Keary’s ability to change momentum in a match after he sparked a Roosters comeback when his side trailed the Eels 10-8 in the second half and believes it’s those type of clutch moments that will all but seal his Origin fate.
“I think he’s pencilled himself into the team at the moment, he’ll be in the 17, that’s for sure,” Blocker told Behind Blue Eyes.
“He reads the game beautifully, I was watching him a bit myself last week and wherever players aren’t (there), that’s where he goes in attack.
“He’s a bit like ‘Sterlo’ (Peter Sterling). Sterling could sum up numbers (in attack) without looking up and counting.
“He could see teams were short and I think Luke Keary has got the same ability.”
Sterling is revered as of the best halfbacks to play Rugby League and was part of the Parramatta Eels’ dominance in the 1980s, winning four premierships while representing both Australia and NSW.
Keary has three premierships to his name and has represented Australia on two occasions, with an Origin debut the only thing that eludes his decorated career.
It’s a fitting comparison considering the Eels and Roosters have seemingly set the benchmark as two of the biggest premiership threats in 2020.
Roach believes the Eels can take confidence from their performance against the back-to-back premiers and the defeat could be a silver lining if they learn from the experience.
“It’s the sign of a great team when everyone was talking about Parramatta, and rightfully so, but they got themselves in-front in that game and then in a blink of an eye (the Roosters) took control,” he said.
“Just a couple of little lapses still in Parramatta’s game, but the Roosters are ruthless and they keep coming and it doesn’t matter what the scoreline is.
“They will fight over a bone and it proves last week that Parramatta still have a few things to do (to improve).”