Phil Gold urges selectors in New South Wales not to forget Matt Burton when they resolve the backline injury crisis.
The Blues are looking for a new three-quarter line due to injuries to Lateral Mitchell (hamstring) and Tom Trobozevich (shoulder) which will be held in Sydney on 8 June.
Trainer Brad Fitler and his brain are madly searching to find out who could wear the K3 and No. 4 jumpers as they prepare to unveil their blues squad on Sunday evening.
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Penrith center Stephen Cricton and his Brisbane opponent Cotoni Stags.
But Gold has thrown a wildcard into the mix.
“Last year the Panthers were the mainstays, the centers were Burton and Cricton,” Gold told Wide World of Sports. Six tackles with gas Podcast
“I don’t want the selectors to forget Matt Burton, who is obviously learning a new position at the Bulldogs and making a very good fist of it.
“He was the Daly M Center of the Year last year, and Burton and Crichton have a great combination with (Nathan) Cleary and (Jerome) Louis Penrith half.
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“I don’t want people to forget that.
“Brian Toe also plays on that (left) wing, and we know Stephen Crichton can play anywhere. Both players provide great versatility throughout the squad if they need to make changes during the game.
“Don’t write the Panthers combination, which I think will be crucial for NSW to move forward.”
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Most pundits – including blues great Paul Galen, who picked a full Blues 17 for the first game in his Monday column for the Wide World of Sports – are tipped to Crichton to win the left center spot and Stags to stand in the right line with the NSW attack.
But if Burton wants to beat the Stags in that role, he must play in the left center and move to Cricton on the right, where they played during last season’s win over Penrith.
That would put Burton back in the Panthers winger To’o and out of Penrith’s fifth-eighth Louis.
Burton has since left Penrith to join Canterbury, where he is playing fifth-eighth.
Gold was asked if Burton could be selected for the NSW but wear the No. 14 jumper instead of the starting position.
“They’re not going to pick him at 14. Pick him aside,” he said.
“I don’t see Burton as 14, I think Burton has to play at the center. I just hope the selectors don’t forget what he did last year, his combination with the Penrith boys. And I think Stephen Crichton should be sure, his form is great. . “
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