The NSW Blues have been named for the first game of the 2017 #Origin series.
6 days ago - 2 Likes
In a massive boost for the undefeated Raiders, five eighth Mark McLinden has passed a fitness test and is avialable for selection this weekend.
The availability of McLinden now gives coach Matt Elliott a selection headache and has to trim his bench by two from 19 to 17. McLinden's speed will be welcomed by the Raiders and if used, McLinden will more than likely be injected off the bench at crucial stages throughout the match.
With the Raiders in such good form it is a shame two players will have to miss out. Alan Tongue deserves to stay after making a whopping 38 tackles last weekend and this figure is all the more impressive considering Tongue played off the bench.
My prediction is Sean Rutgerson and Tyran Smith will make way, which will leave a bench of Tongue, McLinden, Hodgson and Thompson.
The Raiders have the luxury of using Jason Croker in both the backs and forwards so McLinden can come on to replace a forward if need be.
If McLinden is included, it will turn the tables squarely in favour of the Raiders as they look to keep their unbeaten run in tact.
Mark McLinden profile:
RAIDERS DEBUT: 29/03/98 v Gold Coast at Cootamundra
TOP GRADE APPEARANCES: 117
CAREER TRIES: 48
CAREER GOALS/FG: -
CAREER POINTS: 192
REP HONOURS: Country Origin 2001