The NSW Blues have been named for the first game of the 2017 #Origin series.
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St George Illawarra captain Trent Barrett and front rower Luke Bailey have passed fitness tests and will take the field for Saints against Brisbane this Sunday at Aussie Stadium (SFS). Shaun Timmins who missed out on Wednesday night's match with the flu, has also been included in the Dragon's lineup.
Last Wednesday in State of Origin I, Barrett and Bailey played their part in New South Wales' demolition of Queensland. Barrett found some much needed form while Bailey was magnificent and clearly the best forward on the field. Brought into the match with barely three day's notice, Luke Bailey looks to have secured himself a spot in State of Origin II on Wednesday week.
While the news of Barrett and Bailey is welcomed, it appears that Nathan Blacklock is an unlikely starter. Blacklock injured his knee two weeks ago at Brookvale Oval and has missed the last two matches.
Also missing from the Saints line up is Mark Gasnier who's injury is being accessed on a 'week to week' basis. As well, Saints will be without hooker, Mark Riddell and front rower, Jason Ryles who are both sidelined due to suspension.
The Broncos are reportedly carrying their own fair share of injuries following last Wednesdays State of Origin encounter. Allan Langer is 'likely to be rested' as will Petero Civoniceva. Brisbane had no less than eleven players in State of Origin I and nine of those have been named in this Sunday's clash. Its likely that the line up will change again by kickoff.
But Brisbane have an impressive record against the Dragons and also have a great record at Aussie Stadium. Saints defeated the Broncos last year for the first time since 1994 so even with the Broncos having to back up from mid week committments, they are still likely to start as favourites.
Venue: Aussie Stadium (SFS) Date: Sun May 26 3:00pm Referee: Shayne Hayne
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