Ahead of kickoff tonight, check out Rick Edgerton's preview of the second #Origin clash.
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Melbourne Storm prop Robbie Kearns? stellar season has continued today after the 31-year-old was named vice-captain of the Australian Kangaroo side for the upcoming tour of Great Britain.
Remarkably the Storm veteran will line up for his fourth international tour for Australia when the Kangaroos take on New Zealand later this month before embarking on the tour of Great Britain and France.
Kearns has been a leading light in the Storm?s resurgence this year as well as reclaiming his position as one of the competition?s most consistent forwards averaging over 15 hit ups and more than 30 tackles per game.
Kearns admitted he was delighted to be returning to the Test scene after a two-year hiatus.
?All up I?ve been lucky enough to tour overseas with an Australian side on three other occasions ? including Super League ? and anyone who goes on tour will tell you that it?s one of the highlights of your football career,? said Kearns, who last represented Australia on the 2001 tour of Great Britain.
After the disappointment of 2002 - Kearns played just 13 games due to an ankle injury was replaced by Rodney Howe as the Storm?s skipper ? many predicted the veteran?s career to be all but over.
But an outstanding season this year saw the NSW prop return to the State of Origin fold as well as help the Storm defy predictions to finish the season in fifth position on the NRL ladder.
?It?s been fairly well publicised the way last year went for me and I was very disappointed on a personal note that I had an ordinary season but sometimes you can?t help these things with injury,? added the veteran of 16 Test matches.
?Following last season I thought I?d had my day in the sun at a representative level and so I was just happy to play good football with the Storm and anything that came after that was going to be a real bonus for me.
?So after this year which has been a successful season for the club and for me personally, to make this Australian side at the age of 31 is a really proud moment for me.
?Some people make the Australian side in their mid or late twenties and I?m supposed to be over the hill, so I really feel like it?s another feather in my cap to be representing my country at this age.?
Kearns, who re-signed with the Storm for a further two seasons this year, is quick to dismiss any speculation that the Kangaroo squad selected is a second-string side due to the number of injuries to Test regulars.
?I can?t wait to get back out there and play some footy again, after watching the grand final this week it has just made me want to get over there (Great Britain) and get stuck into it,? he added.
?You put a green and gold jersey on anyone and they?re going to play just as hard as the big-name players. No one wants to be remembered as part of a team that loses a series and I?m sure with the players chosen it?s a very competitive side.?
Meanwhile Storm back-rower Peter Robinson has undergone arthroscopic surgery on his left knee and ankle today as part of a post-season clean up on both joints.
Robinson missed two matches midway through the season after injuring his ankle and is expected to be on crutches for the next two weeks.
For further information contact
James Avery: Phone (03) 9421 3222 Mobile: 0411 623 024 [email protected]