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5 days ago
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.
Penrith five-eighth Preston Campbell and Bulldogs halfback Brent Sherwin were omissions from the City-Country Origin squads announced on Sunday for the annual clash in Gosford on Friday night.
"You can't pick everyone," Country coach Ricky Stuart said about Campbell being left out of the 17-man Country squad which includes fellow Panthers Luke Priddis and Amos Roberts.
"He's been in terrific form and he's very unlucky."
It was thought City coach Graham Murray would pair Sherwin and Braith Anasta in the halves but the former missed out altogether.
Anasta and Melbourne ace Matt Orford will combine in the halves for City and will oppose Scott Hill and Country skipper Brett Kimmorley.
Another who can consider himself unlucky is Parramatta winger Eric Grothe, who has been in superb form this season.
Penrith's Luke Rooney and Bulldogs goal-kicking whiz Hazem El Masri earned the wing positions for City.
St George Illawarra pair Jason Ryles and Trent Barrett and Newcastle forward Ben Kennedy weren't considered for Country because they are near certainties to play Origin for NSW when the interstate series kicks off on May 26.
"You have to be fair to the clubs in this position," said Stuart.
"Those guys fit and healthy are probably big chances to play Origin football."
"The opportunity of giving another younger player with the desire and enthusiasm to play in this match was an advantage for the team."
Fullback - Luke Patten Wing - Amos Roberts Centre - Matt Cooper Centre - Matt King Wing - Nathan Blacklock Five Eighth - Scott Hill Half Back - Brett Kimmorley (c) Prop Forward - Peter Cusack Hooker - Luke Priddis Prop Forward - Ryan O'Hara Second Row - Andrew Ryan Second Row - Willie Mason Lock Forward - Glenn Morrison Interchange 1 - Daniel Abraham Interchange 2 - Luke Davico Interchange 3 - Kurt Gidley Interchange 4 - Brent Kite
Coach: Ricky Stuart
Fullback - Brett Hodgson Wing - Hazem El Masri Centre - Mark Gasnier (Ryan Cross - standby) Centre - Luke Lewis Wing - Luke Rooney Five Eighth - Braith Anasta Half Back - Matt Orford Prop Forward - Jason Stevens Hooker - Mark Riddell Prop Forward - Mark O'Meley Second Row - Bryan Fletcher (c) Second Row - Lance Thompson Lock Forward - Steve Menzies Interchange 1 - John Skandalis Interchange 2 - Shane Rodney Interchange 3 - Sam Harris Interchange 4 - Brad Drew
Coach: Graham Murray