CONSISTENT: Slade Griffin has been one of Newcastle’s best since they signed him from Melbourne.MITCHELL Pearce reckons his Newcastle teammate Slade Griffin would look good in sky-blue.
But even if NSW Origin selectors agree, Griffin admits the feeling is not mutual.
The only representative call-up he hopes to receive is from New Zealand, a prospect that may have seemed unlikely at the start of the season but now appears a genuine possibility.
Speaking to the Sunday Telegraph two weeks ago, Pearce recommended Griffin as a Blues bolter, describing the 27-year-old as “an absolute gun” and “one of the best” hookers he had played with.
Griffin, who was born in Glenn Innes and represented NSW at under-18 level, would be eligible for the Blues.
But having grown up in Greymouth, a mining town on New Zealand’s South Island, he regards himself as a Kiwi.
“I played under-18s for NSW, but I’ve actually pledged for New Zealand at the moment,” he said. “But that’s a long way off. I’ve got to play well for the Knights.”
Asked if he would reconsider hisallegiance if there was any interest from NSW, Griffin replied that he would “stick to the Kiwis”.
New Zealand play England in a landmark Test match in Denver, Colorado, next month and the dummy-half job would appear up for grabs.
The Kiwi incumbent is Danny Levi, who has been relegated to Newcastle’s NSW Cup team since Griffin’s off-season arrival from Melbourne.
Veteran Issac Luke has played 40 Tests for the Kiwis but was overlooked for last year’s World Cup.
He has since experienced a form revival at the Warriors and, at 30, might still be young enough for a recall.
“I think Issac Luke is playing great football at the moment,” Griffin said. “All I can focus on is what I can do for this team, and if selectors think I’m good enough, I’d put my best effort in for New Zealand, of course.”
Griffin said the Knights have had a“hard look at ourselves in the mirror” after last week’s 36-18 loss to South Sydney. Coach Nathan Brown hasscheduled an extra defensive session to prepare for Friday’s home clash with Penrith.