Kenny tips Carney to test Queensland in Origin

Last updated 17:30 22/05/2012

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Blues legend Brett Kenny has declared rookie NSW five-eighth Todd Carney is the man who can rattle the record-breaking Queensland team in the State of Origin series opener.

Kenny warns that Carney is a very different proposition to any other Blues five-eighth Queensland have met during their six straight series wins.

He says the more mature Carney seen in the NRL this season possesses the running and kicking game to heap pressure on the Maroons' defence at Etihad Stadium on Wednesday night.

"He tries things. He's always attacking the line and running towards the line, unlike last year when they had Jamie Soward who just caught the ball and passed it which allowed Queensland to focus on the man outside him," said Kenny on the eve of Carney's eagerly-awaited Origin debut.

"With Carney, they're going to have to be very aware of what he does and he's got such a dangerous sidestep as well.

"There a lot of pressure on him but he's clearly been the best NSW five-eighth running around in the competition and it's great to see they've given him an opportunity."

Himself a wonderful attacking five-eighth, Kenny played 17 Origin games for the Blues, sharing some memorable duels with Wally Lewis.

He believed the fact Carney had played alongside halfback Mitchell Pearce at the Sydney Roosters before his switch to Cronulla would prove a huge bonus in the noisy, hectic Origin arena where players often have to rely on instinct.

Kenny feels Carney can create some openings for the dangerous set of players outside him.

"The thing I really like about Carney is he's always running towards the line or drifting across field a bit with the ball out in front of him, always looking to do something.

"You look at the guys we (NSW) have got in the backs with Josh Morris, a strong runner, Michael Jennings who's quick and agile and Brett Stewart at the back.

"I'd like to see (coach) Ricky Stuart give Jarryd Hayne a roving role and not stay on the wing.

"Can you imagine Hayne drifting out on the right or left-hand side and Stewart and one of those centres with him and Carney dictating play with the ball in hand and Queensland having those four guys to worry about?"

Kenny suggested Justin Hodges could be targeted by the Blues' attack while fellow giant Queensland centre Greg Inglis might find it tougher back in the midfield after enjoying the extra space at fullback for South Sydney.

"I think Justin Hodges is not in great form, he's had some injuries and he's been struggling a bit. I think he struggled in the Test match," he said.

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"Greg Inglis has been playing well but he's (been) playing fullback and he won't have as much room to move back in the centres.

"If our forwards can contain Queensland, I think we're a good chance to beat them out wide with Carney calling the shots."

One thing Kenny hopes - win, lose or draw - is that Stuart and fellow NSW selectors stick with the players for the entire series.

"No matter what the result, let's keep this team together unless there are injuries," he said.

- AAP

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