Benny Elias backs Michael Ennis to sink teeth into Origin
QUEENSLAND'S former public enemy number one, Benny Elias, has backed chief antagonist Michael Ennis to star for NSW if he gets the nod to play hooker in tonight's decider at Suncorp Stadium.
Blues coach Laurie Daley has drawn out the Blues' hooking saga, refusing to rule out Robbie Farah, who had surgery on his broken hand eight days ago.
Ennis has not played an Origin since the 34-24 series deciding loss at Suncorp Stadium in 2011.
"This is like a world title fight for Mickey," the former Balmain great told APN from the Greek Island of Mykinos on the eve of the decider.
"It's one-all going to the Colosseum (Suncorp Stadium) under enormous pressure as the No.9. It's set up for a fairytale finish and Michael can write the last page in this story.
"This is his moment.''
Elias said if Daley gave Ennis the nod, he would not let NSW down after having waited three years to get another shot at Origin.
"You can't question Michael Ennis's toughness or his ability to play on the big stage," said Elias, a similar style of player to the Cronulla hooker during his 22 Origins for NSW during the 1980s and '90s.
"He's like a kid in a candy shop. He hasn't played State of Origin for a long time and now he gets another chance and he'll treat it like one of the greatest opportunities of his life.
"Mick would be a great replacement for Robbie and I'd be confident in saying he will be one of the best three players on the field because of the faith Laurie has shown in him."
Ennis and Farah both trained in private yeterday, with Daley leaving his options open.
Ennis brought more than just his ability to get under the skin of opposition players to the Origin table, according to Elias.
"They will also need to watch him around the ruck," he said. "He has a terrific short-kicking game - as good as any player, as Robbie's or Cameron Smith's, and he's surrounded by champion players.
Elias tipped NSW forward David Klemmer, who has dominated pre-game talk like no other forward, to be a "massive weapon" for the Blues to "do a lot of damage".
Meanwhile, Blues captain Paul Gallen has urged his teammates to use the "hatred" of the sellout cauldron crowd to drive them to victory not intimidate them.
"We have to embrace the hate; we have got no choice," said Gallen, fully anticipating Queensland to target his tender ribs early in the clash.