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‘Giant’ Ford set to play halfback

Wednesday 2 February 2011 | Published in Regional


With Mitchell Pearce and Todd Carney likely to play representative football, and Carney injured for the opening to the season for the Sydney Roosters, coach Brian Smith needs to groom a back-up.

His plan is to squeeze 193-centimetre, 104-kilogram monster Jonathan Ford into a number seven jersey.

The 21-year-old Cook Islands’ representative has been one of the Roosters’ most impressive trainers and will get an opportunity in the halves in the trials.

He is the second tallest at the club behind Jason Ryles and heavier than anyone else in the backline.

But incredibly Ford played matches at halfback for feeder club Newtown last year and may be asked to crouch down and feed the scrum in the NRL if Pearce is selected in Origin as expected.

“I had a bit of a write-up with Newtown when I played half-back last year and they chased it up and said I was the world’s biggest half-back,” said Ford, who debuted with two matches at centre and full-back for the Roosters in the final rounds of last season.

“I enjoyed playing halfback. I’d been playing five-eighth all my life pretty much but it’s not much different. It’s more in the number and a bit more responsibility.”

Retired star Trent Barrett was considered an oversized number seven for St George Illawarra, and his dimensions are more than 10cm and 10kg less than Ford.

Smith says Ford and Anasta were pencilled in to relieve Carney and Pearce during Origin, although a lot could change between now and May.

Ford said he is relishing the chance he will have in the trials to prove his worth in the traditionally small-man’s position and declared he is ready to slot into the halves whenever needed this season.

“Yeah, 100 per cent, I’d put my hand up,” he said.

“I need to keep training hard and hopefully I’ll pull through. It’s looking like (Peace and Carney) will get a run (in Origin).

“It’s a good opportunity for me to get out there and show what I’ve been training for.”