PREVIEW 🔍 Robert Crosby looks at what to expect in Sunday night's second State of Origin clash.
85 mins ago
Melbourne Storm will have three players represented in the opening Tri-Nations Series clash between New Zealand and Australia at Telstra Stadium on Saturday.
Matt King has been selected on a wing for Australia, while David Kidwell in the second row and Jake Webster on the wing have been selected for New Zealand.
With most at the Storm believing their season was ended prematurely, Kidwell is glad to be playing more football in 2005.
?It?s a great honour to wear the black and white and I always felt my season wasn?t finished when we got beaten in the semis,? said Kidwell.
?I was pretty dirty on that after getting beaten so I felt that I still wanted to play and now I have an opportunity to go on tour and play some more football which I?m very happy about.?
After going on last year's tour to England, Kidwell now understands better what it takes to win in international rugby league.
?We?ve got two Tests, one in Sydney and one in New Zealand, then we go for four weeks over to England,? said Kidwell.
?I went on the tour last year and it was quite a good experience and I definitely learnt a lot. I think we?ll change a few things on the tour this year and hopefully we can come away with a win in the Tri-Nations.
?We didn?t make the final last year and we were really disappointed. Speaking to the guys throughout the year we are pretty determined to make that final and hopefully win it.?
Although Kidwell is confident the Kiwis can win the Tr-Nations Series this year, he is under no illusions as to who the number one team in the world are.
?Australia is always the number one team, they?ve got class written all over them,? said Kidwell.
?England has shown they are up there as well, making the final last year and pushing Australia to the limit. I think they beat them last year once and lost to them in the final.
?We?re happy to take a bit of a back seat but we know within our own camp we?ve got the ability.?
Kidwell believes the team spirit and family-like atmosphere within the New Zealand camp may be the edge they need when it comes to bridging the gap in talent.
?It?s like walking into a big family when we go into camp and we all get on like that. We?re all from similar backgrounds and so we all get on pretty easy like that,? said Kidwell.
While Kidwell was expected to be named in the final 17, Webster?s selection is nothing short of incredible.
Webster was only drafted into the 21-man Kiwi squad when young Roosters back Iosia Soliola withdraw after a knee injury was detected by the team?s medical staff after the first training session.
At the beginning of 2005, Webster only got his chance on the Storm wing when Steve Turner sustained a season ending ankle injury during a pre-season trial game.
But Webster grabbed the opportunity with both hands and when the Kiwis caught wind of the fact his father is a New Zealander, the rumours began to grow that he would be drafted into the Kiwi set-up at the end of the year.
?It feels really good, I?m very excited,? said Webster.
?I?m just nervous now waiting for the day to arrive. I just want it to hurry up.?
Although born in Melbourne, Webster has no regrets about making the decision to represent New Zealand at international level.
?No not at all. All the boys have accepted me with open arms and I feel like one of the boys now,? said Webster.
Another Storm star that has been selected to play on a wing for Australia, Matt King, may well line-up against Webster, a scenario the debutant Kiwi is looking forward to.
?I?m really excited; I would love to play against him. I?ve train against him all year so it would be great if we lined up on each other and I could get one up on him.?
The starting team is: Brent Webb, Jake Webster, Paul Whatuira, Clinton Toopi, Manu Vatuvei, Nigel Vagana, Stacey Jones, Paul Rauhihi, Lance Hohaia, Ruben Wiki, David Kidwell, Frank Pritchard and Louis Anderson.
On the bench are: David Faiumu, Roy Asotasi, Nathan Cayless and David Solomona.
For further information contact the Melbourne Storm: 03 8412 4900 or Chris Couch: 0407 154 836