FORMER NSW rugby league skipper Ben Elias says Origin-appointed referee Paul Simpkins will be a liability for the Blues at next Wednesday's series opener at Brisbane.
PENRITH was reeling from what it believed to be a State of Origin snub from both NSW and Queensland rugby league selectors.
PAUL Simpkins has been appointed to referee the first State of Origin match at Suncorp Stadium on May 25.
FORMER Maroon halfback Allan Langer says Brad Thorn is ripe for a Queensland State of Origin jersey just nine games into his rugby league comeback.
BLUES coach Ricky Stuart lit the fuse for another representative selection bunfight by declaring he could not guarantee Australian players a spot in the Blues side.
DYNAMIC Melbourne speedster Billy Slater has recovered from his injury problems and declared his intention to enter the crowded race for the Queensland No.1 jersey.
THE players in the 2004 City v Country Origin game have been named. For Country, Willie Mason, Amos Roberts and Glenn Morrison are named after a great start to their respective NRL seasons.
For City, Brett Hodgson's good form this season for Wests Tigers has been rewarded.
MELBOURNE chief John Ribot has questioned the validity of the City-Country rugby league match after top players were ruled out today for the second time in three years.
STACEY Jones comesback again, with the mercurial halfback planning to play off the bench for the Kiwis against France on Saturday.
STANDOFF Nigel Vagana will be available for the Tri-Nations final should the Kiwis make it and he could yet partner Stacey Jones in the halves, with the Kiwi halfback set to extend his international comeback against France on Saturday morning.