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8 hours ago
Brisbane coach-in-waiting Ivan Henjak has dismissed claims NSW are taking an unnecessary risk by throwing rookie halfback Peter Wallace into Origin I.
Former Queensland coach Michael Hagan was quoted this week as saying he wouldn't have blooded a new halfback this year with the Blues staring down the barrel of a third consecutive series defeat.
"You just can't under-estimate what a step up it is for a halfback with the media focus, pressure and the burden of the occasion," Hagan said.
"And by not having an out-and-out five-eighth in Greg Bird, Wallace will be under extra pressure - especially with his kicking game."
While Henjak admitted he was surprised at 22-year-old Wallace's inclusion in the NSW starting side, he backed the Broncos playmaker to make an impact in his debut at ANZ Stadium on Wednesday.
"I just think Origin footy will suit him," Henjak said.
"It's already been well documented this week but he's fairly calm, he doesn't get flustered, he's a good organiser, he likes the physical aspect of the game and he's got a good kicking game.
"Those things are all really important for Origin so I think that type of game is going to suit him.
"Every challenge he's had here, he's stepped up to the mark so the indications are that he'll handle it."
The Blues are set to use their 11th halves combination in 13 Origins since Brad Fittler and Andrew Johns first retired from representative football.
"PJ (Marsh) and Pete Wallace we didn't count on, for the first game anyway, but I'm really happy for them," he said.