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Number 6 Is A Dual Problem
Selecting a halves partner for Stacey Jones is Kiwis' coach Daniel Anderson's biggest dilemma ahead of the trans-Tasman test, while his Australian counterpart admits filling the berth is one of the few conundrums facing Kangaroos' selectors.
Australian coach Chris Anderson has to fill the void left by the injured incumbent Trent Barrett and indicated either Bulldogs star Braith Anasta or Roosters' utility and NSW team-mate Craig Wing were likely to get the nod.
"It's up to the selectors but I'd say Braith and Craig are the two front-runners at this stage," Anderson said.
"Braith is a talented guy and has already played for Australia. Craig hasn't played any five-eighth that I know of but he is versatile and great with the ball in his hands."
Although Wednesday night's final State of Origin match was considered a trial ? particularly for Anasta ? neither player started in the position.
Anasta, who has played four tests, was named at lock while Wing ? the Roosters' hooker ? was again named on the interchange bench.
St George Illawarra captain Shaun Timmins partnered Andrew Johns in the halves, although he is likely to face the Kiwis on July 25 at lock.
Anasta did little to press his claims as the Blues were walloped 6-36 in the dead rubber, Wing was more impressive in a losing cause making 142 metres.
Daniel Anderson is yet to reveal his rationale at five-eighth after dropping the two leading contenders, Lance Hohaia and Motu Tony, from the New Zealand Warriors first grade squad.
Thomas Leuluai only made his run-on debut against Manly last week so Anderson may choose to switch ball-playing backrower Sione Faumuina to the position, sight unseen.
New Zealand have traditionally played with a specialist No.6 although the role of lock and five-eighth are seen as interchangeable in Australia.
Both teams for the Aussie Stadium clash will be named on Sunday.
The Kangaroos team should hold few surprises with member of the Origin-winning NSW expected to dominate.
Queensland are only assured of three players in the starting lineup ? fullback Darren Lockyer, second rower Gorden Tallis and prop Shane Webcke.
However, Anderson conceded more Queenslanders deserved consideration after Wednesday night's success at Suncorp Stadium.
"A few more definitely put their hands up," he said.
North Queensland wing Matt Sing, who scored a hat-trick, has had a strong series and may displace Timana Tahu on one wing. Tahu's Newcastle team-mate Matt Gidley might suffer the same fate at centre after Broncos centre Brent Tate's strong performance.
Brisbane Petero Civoniceva is also tipped to make the bench while his Maroons colleagues Steve Price and Dane Carlaw are also rated a chance at making the interchange bench.