Ahead of Friday's #NRL game between Penrith Panthers and Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs, writer Rob C...
11 hours ago
NSW Country coach Laurie Daley says he won't be dictated to by NRL coaches wanting him to take it easy on their players in Friday night's representative rugby league clash with City.
Country selectors came under fire from Newcastle coach Brian Smith after picking Knights veteran Danny Buderus at hooker for the clash in Wollongong, Smith claiming Buderus had little to gain by playing for Country.
Buderus is an almost certain selection as NSW hooker and skipper for the State of Origin series opener on May 21, and Smith believes the former Test rake should have been overlooked so as not to overdo his workload.
Country officials are adamant players don't get to pick and choose which representative games they play, and Daley said the amount of time Buderus spent on the WIN Stadium field on Friday night would not be set by Smith.
Parramatta officials have also voiced their concern over the workload expected of veteran backrower Nathan Hindmarsh, who will make his Country debut this week.
"I'll just play them as I see them," Daley said.
"If they have to play 80, they'll play 80."
That would seem unlikely though with Ben Hornby sure to share the dummy half duties with Buderus while bench forwards Chris Heighington and Glenn Stewart will likely play big minutes in the backrow as they make their representative debuts.
Veteran Bulldogs backrower Andrew Ryan trained away from the main group on Tuesday morning and is considered the only doubtful starter due to a chronic knee injury.
St George Illawarra backrower Ben Creagh has joined the squad as 18th man and will remain on standby for Ryan.