Genia the great just needs room to move

MAKES THE RIGHT CHOICES: Will Genia has the ability to become the greatest halfback Australia has produced, former Wallaby Brett Johnstone says.
MAKES THE RIGHT CHOICES: Will Genia has the ability to become the greatest halfback Australia has produced, former Wallaby Brett Johnstone says. TONY MCDONOUGHAAP

FORMER Australia and Queensland halfback Brett Johnstone reckons Will Genia is the "most complete" scrum-half in the world and may become the best No.9 our nation has seen.

But he said Genia's ability might be diminished playing behind an Australian forward pack that lacked firepower.

The Wallabies arrive at Pelican Waters today for a week-long training camp on the Sunshine Coast ahead of their series opener against the Lions at Brisbane on June 22.

Twin Waters resident Johnstone said Genia, 25, could make his mark against the highly touted tourists.

"He gets that many more touches with the ball, but more importantly he just makes all the right choices," Johnstone said.

"He knows whether to run, kick or attack and is very precise in what he does. I think he's probably the most complete halfback going around.

"He's without a doubt the best halfback we've had in Queensland and I think he could go on to become our greatest halfback ever with the Wallabies."

Johnstone, who played 71 games for the Reds in the 1990s and was capped against Tonga in 1993, said Genia would need his forwards to provide him with room to move.

"I just hope he can get good clean ball to dominate teams, because he's a very astute player," he said.

"If they (Genia and flyhalf James O'Connor) can get good-quality possession from the forwards and not be on the back foot it will make their job a lot easier."

Johnstone, 40, said the Wallabies were missing the experience of Rocky Elsom and Nathan Sharpe and would also miss the work rate of injured flankers Dave Pocock and George Smith.

Significantly, he said, the Australian engine room could lack venom.

"I don't think we've got a really devastating ball runner or a genuine bit of fear factor in our pack," he said.

"I'm not saying they're not physical - we don't have a runner like Toutai Kefu or Matt Cockbain. You knew when you were hit by them.

"I think we're going to have to be really physical and we're going to have to really step up to this pack of forwards the Lions have brought here.

"They are going to try and intimidate us and throw us around a bit, so we really need to step up in that capacity.

"We've got a really good backline, there's no question about ... but not if we don't get front-foot ball."

Topics:  british and irish lions queensland reds wallabies will genia

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