'Absolutely crazy': Former Blues star baffled by NSW halves call

Former NSW hooker Michael Ennis has slammed the idea of Brad Fittler picking two halfbacks in Game Two of State of Origin in Perth.

Reports suggest Blues coach Fittler will pick incumbent Nathan Cleary with former NSW half Mitchell Pearce in a bid to level the series before heading to NSW for a potential decider.

But Ennis was left astounded at the idea of picking two halfbacks, instead of a recognised five-eighth, for such an important games because the two stars play in such a similar way.

Michael Ennis speaking on Fox Sports. (Image: Fox Sports)
Michael Ennis speaking on Fox Sports. (Image: Fox Sports)

“It’s absolutely crazy,” he said at half time of the Raiders and Sharks clash on Thursday night.

“I can’t see why going into such a contest where we have to win the game. If Mitchell is in the side absolutely I have no problem with that.

“I think he completely deserves his opportunity. He is the form halfback for NSW, but Mitchell the way he is playing he needs to play that same way for NSW, which is on the ball.

“Where does Nathan Cleary go when that happens? Isn’t that his job? He’s a halfback.”

Ennis said if Fittler was going to pick the in-form halfback, Pearce, he needed a runner outside him at five-eighth.

But Ivan Cleary says son Nathan is capable of taking a back seat to Pearce if selected at five-eighth for State of Origin II.

But is adamant his heart and long-term future are in the No.7, not the No.6.

Under the plan, South Sydney's Cody Walker - who faces the Cleary's Panthers at ANZ Stadium on Saturday - will be dropped after just one game.

BRISBANE, AUSTRALIA - JUNE 05: during game one of the 2019 State of Origin series between the Queensland Maroons and the New South Wales Blues at Suncorp Stadium on June 05, 2019 in Brisbane, Australia. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)
BRISBANE, AUSTRALIA - JUNE 05: during game one of the 2019 State of Origin series between the Queensland Maroons and the New South Wales Blues at Suncorp Stadium on June 05, 2019 in Brisbane, Australia. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

And Pearce, who last year lost his Origin jersey after missing 11 weeks because of a torn pec, will run the show and float on both sides of the field in attack.

Panthers coach Ivan said Nathan was capable of sitting back and letting Pearce steer the side around and it's not dissimilar to how he has played alongside James Maloney at club and representative level over the last few years.

"(Nathan) did it last year, I think he could definitely do it," Cleary said.

"He'll do whatever if he's asked to do it."

But pressed on Nathan's best position and where his future lies, Ivan said he was undoubtedly a No.7.

"Nathan's a halfback, he always has been," Ivan said.

"He's young, halfbacks don't hit their straps until after they're 25. He's only 21.

"He does some things really well each week. But we all stand here and know that in five years time he's going to be a lot more accomplished as well, you can't speed up time."