Artie unfazed by big Blues pack
By CRAIG ROSScraigr@gladstoneobserver.com.au
QUEENSLAND great Arthur Beetson isn't buying into the theory that the Maroons' forward pack cannot match their Blues' opponents for mobility in next Wednesday night's opening State of Origin encounter at Suncorp Stadium.
Speaking at a book signing session alongside fellow past Maroons' heroes Jason Hetherington, Gary Larson, Billy Moore and Bob Lindner, Beetson said the media's fascination with size (Queensland) versus mobility (NSW) was too simplistic. "Our forwards are mobile too,'' the big man fired.
'Steve Price is mobile and Brad Thorn too and young Smithy (Cameron Smith) is a good player.
'Brad Thorn is playing as good as anyone else and Michael Crocker is also mobile as is Tonie Carroll at lock so I can't see how they can say we aren't.'
Beetson said the team that engineered the most second phase play would get the money next week.
'For 15 years we had to put up with players being told to tuck the ball under their arm and just hit it up,' he said.
'Now, it seems to me, the sides that win matches are the ones that have second phase play.'
While the Maroons boast an attacking genius in Darren Lockyer, Beetson was adamant it was effective second phase play which would win the game for Queensland.
'It's all good to have (five-eighth and skipper) Darren Lockyer there but the bottom line is they have to encourage the blokes to use second phase play,' Beetson said.
'I just hope they're good enough to do it.'
Perhaps unwilling to part with hard-earned underdog status, Beetson said he could not understand how the Maroons were being tipped to win the series.
'I find it hard to believe given the form of some of the New South Welshmen,' he said.
'All those St George (Illawarra) blokes are firing at the moment.'
No doubt, he hopes he's wrong.