Time to look ahead to Sunday's decider! Rob Crosby has a full look at both teams and what to expect ...
4 hours ago
The Cronulla Sharks have managed to have only two players selected in this friday's City / Country Origin match, despite being equal leaders in the premiership. Prop Jason Stevens will play in the front row for City, while winger Luke Covell has been called up to replace injured Country winger, Timana Tahu.
While these two players are certainly deserving of their spots, questions still need to be asked. How, for example, did Paul Gallen miss out on selection? He has been Cronulla's most dominant forward all season, yet finds himself behind players from teams lounging on the bottom of the table, such as Reni Maitua (Bulldogs) and John Skandalis (Wests).
Phil Bailey, meanwhile, appears to be long forgotten by selectors. Only two years after lining up for Australia, Bailey - despite excellent early season form - can't even crack a spot in front of Steve Simpson (Newcastle) or Ben Creagh (St George Illawarra), both of whom are playing for cellar dwelling teams.
Coach Stuart Raper will be pleased that these players won't have to make the long trip from Lismore to Perth in the space of twenty four hours, but it is hard not to feel disappointed for them. After carrying Cronulla to the top of the premiership ladder, their hard work goes unrecognised by the selectors, who (if St George Illawarra's over-representation is anything to go by) prefer overpaid hacks who don't care much for the jersey they pull on week in and week out.