Written by Joshua Dean
The year 2020 was terrible for most people around the world but for Jack Hetherington, it was a blessing in disguise.
After having a breakout year playing as a loan player for the struggling New Zealand Warriors, his outstanding play saw him earn a two-year contract with the Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs and he is now primed to take another giant step forward and earn a spot in the NSW Blues team.
The Blues desperately need some mongrel in their forward pack after being dominated by Queensland last year. Hetherington’s style of play is perfect for State of Origin and if he continues to play well for the Bulldogs this season, Brad Fittler must consider selecting him.
Although he only played eight NRL games last season, Hetherington made a substantial impact in both attack and defence, particularly once he was at the Warriors. In just six games for the New Zealand based club, he made six tackle-breaks, eight offloads and 235 post-contact metres.
He may have only averaged around 25 tackles a game in defence, but it was the big hits that stood out the most, forcing many errors from opposition players. In a Warriors side that struggles in defence and fitness, Hetherington was a shining light in both areas.
The Canberra native’s – son of Brett Hetherington and nephew Brett Mullins – style of play is perfect for a prop in the modern game due to him having an incredibly high motor for a forward. Many others in his position tend to play two 20 minutes stints of a game. In the four games Hetherington started last season he averaged 63 minutes per game and played the full 80 minutes on one occasion. This gives his team more options for their interchange as having a prop who is capable of playing 50-60 minutes per game allows more options on the bench.
The only negative on his game is that he doesn’t have the best judicial record as he tends gets in trouble for reckless tackles. It may be a little risky to have him in your side because as he can be suspect to a sin bin or send-off. However, isn’t this exactly what New South Wales needed in the last Origin series? They needed a player who would get in the Maroons faces and do anything they could for their jersey.
He is still a slightly raw prospect and the sample size might be fairly small, but the Blues need to take it to Queensland and Hetherington may very well be the man to do so.