8 hours ago
Robust looking squad for NSW, with
a few surprises
Cronulla halfback Brett Kimmorley is the most glaring omission from NSW's very powerful looking preliminary State of Origin squad named today. Kimmorley is the incumbent Australian Test halfback, but was considered the Blues' third-choice number seven - at best - behind Newcastle's Andrew Johns and the Bulldogs' Brent Sherwin.
St George Illawarra centre Mark Gasnier can consider himself a little unlucky as well after some reasonable form thus far. His club centre partner Shaun Timmins has beaten him to selection without even pulling on a boot this year.
NSW selectors have included 12 newcomers in the 30-man squad, with troublesome Manly winger John Hopoate, Bulldogs fullback Luke Patten and Newcastle prop Josh Perry the biggest surprises.
North Queensland back rower Glenn Morrison has been rewarded for his hard toiling after he was selected for City last year and was subsequently ruled out through injury.
Top-of-the-table Canberra has a good representation courtesy of its unbeaten start to the season with the selection of evergreen utility Jason Croker and strong prop Luke Davico. In addition to the 30-man squad, NSW coach Phil Gould has invited Raiders front rower Ryan O'Hara, Penrith winger Luke Lewis and Manly prop Jason King to attend the Blues' one-day get-together at Telstra Stadium on May 14.
Gould says players not included in the preliminary squad will still be considered for Origin I at Suncorp Stadium on June 11, with injuries and suspension expected to play their part. One would imagine the likes of Jason Ryles would come into calculations once his hamstring injury has been overcome.