Battle-hardened former NSW utility Shaun Timmins has urged Laurie Daley not to discard Brett Morris from Origin calculations – even if he doesn’t prove his fitness for the Dragons on Saturday night.
Morris’ comeback from a knee injury gathered pace this week, with the Australian winger set to return for St George Illawarra against the Panthers at WIN Jubilee Oval.
The 26-year-old wasn’t named in the Dragons side earlier this week.
Morris’ fitness has provided a headache for Blues coach Daley, who will name his squad for game one on Sunday night.
Blake Ferguson is believed to have sewn up one wing spot, with Souths flyer Nathan Merritt tipped to shade Newcastle’s Akuila Uate for the other if Morris is not considered.
Quizzed on whether he thought Morris deserves some selection latitude even if he failed to play against the Panthers, Timmins said: ”He probably does.
”That’s probably why Laurie is going to consider him.
”If he doesn’t play, he still may be a chance. He deserves his spot and he was an Australian winger earlier in the year and he’s the incumbent No.1 winger.
”If he’s [close to] 100 per cent fit and still can’t play [on Saturday] I think you still have to consider him.”
Timmins battled a chronic problem with his knees throughout his career, but still managed to play nine games for NSW between 2000-04.
He famously booted a match-winning golden point field goal in game one of the 2004 series, which NSW went on to win 2-1.
But Timmins said Morris would need to train for the majority of the 10-day build-up to the June 5 opener if Daley was to gamble on the fitness of the prolific finisher.
”You love to go into those games 100 per cent fit because it’s the toughest game there is and you can see how quick and hard they are,” Timmins said.
”You don’t want to go in underdone because you can get found out. They do like you to train in camp as much as you can to try to get a bit of teamwork happening.
”I used to sit out Origin training. They were pretty good with me early on in the week as I wouldn’t train much towards the end of my career as I tried to stay off my knees a bit.
”I’m sure Brett’s racing the clock to try to get himself right to make the side and I’d say he’d be the first one picked,” he said.
Dragons coach Steve Price described Morris as a ”day-to-day proposition”, with last week’s two-try hero Daniel Vidot set to vacate the left wing if the Kiama junior is passed fit for the Red V.
Veteran centre Matt Cooper (toe) and recently re-signed hooker Mitch Rein (ankle) were both named in the Dragons side after sitting out the 32-12 win over Parramatta last week.
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