Kelly has chance for Blues selection

RUGBY LEAGUE: He could get kicked out of the FOGS club for giving NSW Origin selectors a tip, but Queensland favourite son Chris Close believes the Blues should take a close look at Titan's No.7 Albert Kelly for this year's interstate series.

"The NSW selectors have to take a good look at Albert Kelly, he is killing them," declared Close who will no doubt cop some fire from former Queensland greats for giving the enemy a selection leg up.

The Titans tossed Kelly an NRL lifeline last year after the 23-year-old from Macksville, near Kempsey, had been cut adrift by both Cronulla and Newcastle over alcohol-related incidents.

He scored 13 tries in his debut season, and despite battling a painful foot injury, has scored four more in just three games this season.

Rugby league statistician David Middleton said nine of Kelly's 15 career tries have been long-range ones from inside his own half, running an average of 57m each time.

Close said there was a lot to like about the way Kelly played, and how deceptively tough he was.

"He's been through a lot, but he has risen above it and he is playing some really good football, good enough to push for an Origin call up," Close said.

"He can hit hard in defence as well, and has that blinding speed halfbacks need."

Apart from his two tries in the Titans 24-12 upset over Canberra, Kelly came up with a classic try-saving tackle off his line in the first half against one of the

heavyweight Raiders forwards.

With two games to be played in Brisbane this year, NSW is staring down the barrel of nine straight Origin series losses in a row, putting pressure on selectors to get key positions right.

Mitchell Pearce has worn the No.7 jumper in the last 11 Origins for the Blues, with critics suggesting it was time for a change.

While Pearce's combination with James Maloney took the Sydney Roosters to an NRL premiership last season, there is a feeling in some circles Pearce comes up short in the Origin

arena.

South Sydney's Adam Reynolds is a definite rival for this year's series, but Close, who played 14 games for Queensland, says NSW selectors should not overlook Kelly who hails from the same district as Rabbitohs and Queensland superstar Greg Inglis.

Some smart judges believe Kelly was as good if not better than Inglis at the same age.


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