Cameron Murray.
Cameron Murray.

Rookie Rabbit with NRL’s fastest play-the-ball

PHIL Gould reckons the kid owns rugby league's fastest play-the-ball.

And Darren Lockyer agrees.

Which is why Rabbitohs interchange forward Cameron Murray suddenly looms is the undeniable X-Factor in a blockbuster NRL finals match against the Roosters.

Outstanding against St George Illawarra last Saturday night, 20-year-old Murray came up with a crucial one-on-one strip which - hailed the play of the game by Bunnies skipper Greg Inglis - allowed halfback Adam Reynolds to shoot for his second of three successful field goals.

Yet just as impressive for the Channel Nine commentary team is the speed Murray continually shows playing the ball.

Cameron Murray owns rugby league’s fastest play-the-ball.
Cameron Murray owns rugby league’s fastest play-the-ball.

Apart from running for a combined 281m in consecutive weeks against Melbourne and the Dragons, his quickness at the ruck has also been the starting point for several signature darting runs by hooker Damien Cook.

During the match, Gould suggested the Bunnies No. 15 had the fastest play the ball of anyone in the NRL.

Lockyer added: "Cameron Murray's play the ball … it's like a signal for Cook to run".

So as for the commentators being right?

"Play the ball speed, it's really important to me," Murray said. "Our game model is built around playing fast.

"And we have a hooker in Cookie, the quickest in the competition out of the ruck, who relies on quick play the balls.

"So that's a focus for me every week, a goal I guess you could say.

"When I come on I try to bring energy, bring momentum and quick play the balls are a part of that. I do my best to carry with intent and then play the ball fast."

Cameron Murray made massive metres against the Dragons.
Cameron Murray made massive metres against the Dragons.

Asked if Cook talked about getting him a quick delivery, Murray continued: "It's just a given.

"Everyone knows how dangerous he is out of dummy half. And everyone knows what he needs to be dangerous.

"His strength comes from getting a quick play the ball so I try to provide that for him."

And as for his crucial one-on-one strip against the Dragons?

"The opportunity presented itself and I was in a good position so I just tried my best," he shrugged. "Luckily it came off.

"I knew we needed a big play because we were down by one. We needed something to change the momentum.

"So it was always in the back of my mind.

"Then the opportunity presented itself.

"Thankfully it put the team in a good position to score (the point) and I trusted Reyno could do it … and he did."

Despite having a goal to make the Bunnies starting side in 2018, Murray says he is now at peace with his role coming off the pine.

"I've found a niche I guess you could say," he said.

"One of my goals this year was to be in the starting side. Unfortunately that wasn't to be but 'Seibs' pulled me aside and said I had a job to do for this team and, if I do it, we'll go places."