The NSW Blues have been named for the first game of the 2017 #Origin series.
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After a series of strong performances for Newtown in the VB Premier League, added to a solid outing as a replacement last week against the Broncos, former New Zealand Warrior Vince Mellars has earned a promotion into the Sharks starting side for the match with Souths this Saturday night.
Mellars has made steady improvement this season with coach Stuart Raper opting to give him an opportunity in the top grade in what is his favoured position of centre. The 105kg Kiwi was used as a back-rower during the last 20 minutes of the match against Brisbane last Sunday.
?Vince has been playing well with the Newtown Jets in the VB Premier League and due to that good form he will get his chance against Souths,? Raper said. ?At this stage Paul Mellor has been named on a five-man interchange bench and I will decide on the final make up of the team later in the week.?
The return of Danny Nutley from State of Origin commitments is the only other Sharks change, with the Queensland debutant taking over from Hutch Maiava in the run-on side. Maiava, who more than held his own against Shane Webcke and the Brisbane pack last week, reverts back to the interchange bench.
The only Sharks player unavailable for selection is Greg Bird, the Sharks utility player set to will miss the remainder of the season with a serious foot injury.
Now on 22 points and just one win in front of a log jam of teams fighting for top eight positions, the Sharks will be keen to beat the Rabbits and to secure the two competition points and consolidate their place amongst the leaders.
Souths will be without forward Brian Fletcher for Saturday night?s match, the former international having been stood down from the Sharks clash while also losing the club captaincy due to a racial abuse issue involving Parramatta?s Dean Widders last Sunday.
The Sharks v Souths clash will kick off at 5.30pm at Aussie Stadium. Shayne Hayne is to be the referee. In the VB Premier League Newtown play Souths, also at Aussie Stadium, with that match getting underway at 3.30pm, while in the Jersey Flegg the Sharks play Souths at Redfern Oval, beginning at 1.30pm.
Article courtesy of the Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks official website.