Jeff Dickinson-Fox reviews the campaign which saw Melbourne Storm crowned premiers in 2017.
2 days ago
Lyon has succumbed to a hamstring injury picked up in Manly's loss to the Bulldogs last weekend. Dogs goalkicking maestro Hazem El Masri will start on the wing for the Blues in his first Origin match with Melbourne's Matt King moving to the centres.
An elated El Masri says he considered this year his last chance to play Origin football.
El Masri, 31, has been playing first grade football since 1996 and has represented City Origin six times, as well as playing one Test for Australia in 2002.
"It just shows you never give up hope I guess, it doesn't matter when or why, you're time will come," said El Masri.
"I thought this year was maybe my last chance, with all the hype at the beginning of the year I thought I was a chance, and then they stuck with the same squad, and that was it, and I thought it had gone past.
"To get to know you're playing nice and early just gives you a couple of days to let it sink through and be a bit more prepared."
Queensland are today expected to make a decision on the availability of back-rower Jacob Lillyman for next week's Origin three in Brisbane.
The rugged North Queensland forward has a fractured eye socket and risks further damage if he cops another knock to the area at Suncorp Stadium on Wednesday night. Lillyman will meet with Maroons doctor Roy Saunders this morning at the team's Gold Coast base, with a final decision likely to be left to the player.
Queensland coach Mal Meninga is confident Broncos fullback Karmichael Hunt will train today after missing yesterday's session due to a calf strain. And injured pair Justin Hodges and Dallas Johnson should also be training with their teammates this weekend following two days of rehabilitation.