NSW selectors named their team today for the first match of the 2006 Rugby League State of Origin series against Queensland at Telstra Stadium on May 24:Tigers fullback Brett Hodgson has played himself into the fullback?s role, with most of the rest of the backline as expected. The contentious five-eighth jumper has gone to Rooster?s pivot Braith Anasta, who will be joined in the halves with Craig Gower.Brent Kite has earned a recall, packing in with Willie Mason in the front row. The rest of the pack is made up with regulars, whilst Luke Lewis and Eric Grothe have been placed on standby for centres Matt Cooper and Mark Gasnier.The full squad is:Brett Hodgson, Matt King, Mark Gasnier, Matt Cooper, Timana Tahu, Braith Anasta, Craig Gower, Brent Kite, Danny Buderus (capt), Willie Mason, Nathan Hindmarsh, Steve Simpson, Luke O'Donnell.Interchange: Craig Wing, Steve Menzies, Mark O'Meley, Andrew RyanOn standby: Luke Lewis, Eric Grothe---The Queensland selectors have also named their finest 17 for the opening rugby league State of Origin match against NSW at Telstra Stadium on May 24.The side includes seven debutants.Cowboys fullback Matt Bowen has held the custodian?s role amid pressure from Karmichael Hunt. This sees Storm young gun Greg Inglis get his first cap on the wing with the rest of the back line picking itself.A young backrow of first-timers in David Stagg, Matthew Scott and Dallas Johnson each win spots with Sam Thaiday and Nate Myles also debuting.The full squad is:Matt Bowen, Greg Inglis, Justin Hodges, Brent Tate, Steven Bell, Darren Lockyer (capt), Johnathan Thurston, Steven Price, Cameron Smith, Petero Civoniceva, David Stagg, Matthew Scott, Dallas JohnsonInterchange: Shaun Berrigan, Carl Webb, Sam Thaiday, Nate Myles.
NEW South Wales coach Graham Murray says St George Illawarra duo Mark Gasnier and Trent Barrett should be considered for State of Origin selection regardless of whether they leave the NRL next year.Barrett is considering a move to the English Super League while Gasnier is weighing up a lucrative offer to switch to rugby union. Speaking at the launch of the representative season today, Murray says the Dragons stars should not be black-banned by selectors this season.
FANS have rushed tickets for rugby league's second State of Origin game at Brisbane's Suncorp Stadium.Only 3,500 of the 52,500 tickets remain after 14,000 were snapped up in the first 90 minutes this morning. QRL officials held back 500 tickets for north Queensland fans whose lives were disrupted by Cyclone Larry today. The first game of the series will be played at Sydney's Telstra Stadium on May 24 with the return game in Brisbane on June 14. The third game is booked for Melbourne's Telstra Dome on July 5.
NSW winger Matt King says there is no way Ben Kennedy faked injury in last night's 32-10 State of Origin win over Queensland.
QUEENSLAND is still counting the injury toll from last night's State of Origin loss.
QUEENSLAND forward Michael Crocker has taken a swipe at New South Wales back-rower Ben Kennedy for taking a dive in the Blues' 32-10 series-clinching Origin win in Brisbane last night.
QUEENSLAND forward Carl Webb has been ruled out of next month's State Of Origin series decider against New South Wales in Brisbane.
NSW prop Luke Bailey is expected to be fit for the Origin series decider in Brisbane on July 6 despite not playing yesterday with St George Illawarra in the 28-10 win over South Sydney.
THE countdown to tonight's 25th anniversary State of Origin rugby league series opening clash in Brisbane is well underway with both teams looking to settle pre-match nerves.