Andrew McCullough is a contender for the Queensland No.9 jersey. Pic Peter Wallis
Andrew McCullough is a contender for the Queensland No.9 jersey. Pic Peter Wallis

Parker: Why McCullough has jump on Qld No.9 jersey

ANDREW McCullough, Jake Granville or Jake Friend?

The race to Queensland's No.9 jersey is regarded to be a three-way race, while halfback Ben Hunt has also been tossed up as a left-field option.

But if Maroons coach Kevin Walters follows Mal Meninga's advice and picks a full-time dummyhalf, former Test star Corey Parker believes McCullough deserves first crack - and there's a good reason behind it.

Andrew McCullough is carrying an elbow injury.
Andrew McCullough is carrying an elbow injury.

"I definitely think Andrew McCullough is suited to Origin football," Parker said.

"He's tough, he's uncompromising, he's fit.

"You need someone who's going to be there for 80 minutes and make their 50 tackles and know you don't have to worry about that player.

"Andrew McCullough, 223 games, he's experienced.

"There's only been one guy that's played in Cameron's absence and that's been Matt Ballin in a one off game. Every other time it's been Cameron Smith.

"The other reason why I say McCullough is his combination and friendship with Ben Hunt who I think will be the seven.

"The synergy there could work really well.

"But geez there's some shoes to fill."

Former NSW hooker Michael Ennis also believed McCullough was best suited to the role, given the rocky start to the season both Granville and Friend have had.

 

 

 

Jake Granville has been solid with the Cowboys.
Jake Granville has been solid with the Cowboys.

"The form of the Cowboys probably doesn't help Jake Granville," Ennis said.

"Often club form is a huge bonus. You've only got to look at the Dragons, they'll get a number of guys in that NSW team off the back of the form they've shown.

"You need to pick someone who's playing big minutes too so it has to be McCullough or Friend.

"McCullough's composed and he's tough and skilled. His service from dummyhalf is very good and he's a selfless player.

"His concern is he's playing with an elbow injury.

"With Jake Friend, I thought he had his best performance of the year last weekend against the Warriors.

"He really stayed within his parameters, and I thought the areas of he does well, he did well - not trying to break outside their structure and being too creative out of dummyhalf.

"Kevvy's got some options there. They're not big boots to fill, they're bloody enormous."



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