Newspaper article The Daily Mercury (Mackay, Australia)

Debutant Soward Playing a Big Part in Stuart's Preparations

Newspaper article The Daily Mercury (Mackay, Australia)

Debutant Soward Playing a Big Part in Stuart's Preparations

Article excerpt

NSW coach Ricky Stuart has revealed debutant playmaker Jamie Soward's big contribution to the Blues' planning for State of Origin I against Queensland tonight.

Soward has achieved a remarkable turnaround in the estimation of Stuart, the former Sydney Roosters mentor who all but wrote him off when he was emerging at that NRL club.

The St George-Illawarra playmaker will finally fulfil his dream of playing Origin football at Suncorp Stadium following his key role in the Dragons' premiership last year.

Installed as the Blues' first fulltime coach, Stuart got the players he wanted and showed his confidence in Soward by handing him the chance to steer an NSW fightback.

But the NSW boss went further at the side's final training session yesterday, describing Soward's leadership role as crucial.

aHe's actually helped me,a Stuart said.

aAt training I sit down and talk to him about the game.

aI haven't talked to him about being a debutant. …

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