There has been much in the press this week, largely coming from Brian Smith about Danny Buderus being picked for Country. Smith seems to find this unfair on his number 9. So unfair, that he has picked him to back up 24 hours later against the Dragons.
First things first. I am a Brian Smith fan. One only has to see the shambolic nature of the Eels this year, and the fact that the Knights are playing well above themselves to see who won the famous coach swap of 2006. And supporting his players in their quest for representative jerseys is par for the course for club coaches.
However, Smith's certainty - and the certainty of much of the media that Buderus is a walk-up starter for NSW this origin series is an interesting state of mind. If Robbie Farah was available, on form alone, Buderus would be the third best hooker in NSW. Without Robbie Farah, Buderus is still the second best available hooker in the state at the moment. The best?? The surprising Michael Ennis, whose origin claims must be seriously considered. If the Blues are indeed looking to get younger, and are indeed thinking about stripping away "incumbent" players who are not performing as well as their current rivals, then you can start talking long and hard about Buderus' place in the 17.
The incumbency debate seems like it will claim but one victim: Nathan Hindmarsh. With the same tenacity that the football media has clung to Buderus, it has pushed Hindmarsh in front of the Bus. And the man most willing to give Hindmarsh a nudge in front of that flying 400, is of course, Gus Gould. If Buderus gets his customary number 9 for the Blues and Hindmarsh is nowhere to be seen on origin night, the "picking players based on form" argument is a hollow one.