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11 hours ago - 4 Likes
The thought of tackling 193cm, 110kg Queensland giant Petero Civoniceva doesn't scare NSW rugby league hard man Ben Kennedy.
But mention pint-sized Maroons fullback Matt Bowen and it is a different story.
The promotion of regular Queensland reserve Bowen to fullback at Billy Slater's expense for Wednesday's Origin decider prompted speculation that he would be a liability for the Maroons.
However, Kennedy said Queensland would lose nothing with Slater's axing, describing Bowen - at 175cm and 78kg wringing wet - as "scary".
"I hate to say it but I would rather Petero running at me than him (Bowen). He's a scary little man - his footwork is so good," Kennedy said after the NSW team arrived at Brisbane.
Asked if Bowen was the NRL's most difficult to tackle, Kennedy said: "Probably and (Penrith's) Preston Campbell is another one who comes to mind.
"Just their footwork and the timing of their footwork is pretty spot on. They are good for the game, they are exciting to watch."
Kennedy became a Bowen fan on Australia's 2004 Tri Nations tour and was surprised by criticism of Bowen's selection as Queensland fullback for the vital Origin clash.
The hulking 188cm, 102kg NSW backrower agreed with Blues teammate Jason Ryles' description that tackling Bowen was "like catching a mouse".
"On tours I've been with him on, I had a few games of footy with him. He's an unbelievable talent," he said.
"His footwork is probably second to none in the competition. He is going to be dangerous around the rucks when we get tired - we will work that out at training and hopefully shut him down."
While Bowen may be "scary", 31-year-old Kennedy in full flight is one of the most feared sights in rugby league.
And he showed some of his legendary fire when quizzed if this would be his last Origin.
Kennedy announced his international retirement after the Anzac test in April but has kept the Origin door ajar after finding a new lease on life at new NRL club Manly - much to his annoyance.
"I knew it (the question) was coming, I've been asked a million times. I really don't know what I am going to do - I'll see," he said.
"The decider is not a time to worry about personal issues. I'm just worried about NSW issues.
"It's way back in my mind - I will have a chat to my club, my family and my teammates and see after that."