NSW have named a side that will defintely start as rank outsiders in the first State of Origin match on May 22 at Stadium Australia. There were surprise selections, most notably Parramatta duo Jason Moodie and Michael Vella, with the latter only making his return from injury this weekend against the Sharks. The selectors overlooked incumbent test centre Matthew Gidley as his form has been well below par and many questions have been raised about his defensive capabilities in big matches. His performance in Friday nights City/Country match sealed his fate with Gidley showing far too many defensive lapses in his game.
NSW look short on quality props and outside backs compared to the QLD juggernaut to be made up of mostly Brisbane Broncos players. Gone are the days when NSW had the luxury of playing front rowers in the second row.
QLD are overwhelming favourites to win this years series, a position they are not familiar with. The Maroons announce their side tommorrow and most are predicting a very strong side that will be more than capable of toppling the Phil Gould coached Blues.
NSW Side: 1 Hodgson 2 Tahu 3 Lyon 4 Timmins 5 Moodie 6 Barrett 7 Johns (c) 8 O'Meley 9 Buderus 10 Kearns 11 Simpson 12 Kennedy 13 Ricketson 14 Anasta 15 Fletcher 16 Hindmarsh 17 VellaLike