Surprises in NSW Origin squad

With injuries to key players, a revamped NSW squad has been named.

Newcastle halfback Kurt Gidley, Dragons utility Ben Hornby and Roosters centre Ryan Cross were surprise selections in an expanded NSW State of Origin rugby league squad named today.

The selectors had been expected to name a 25-man squad but instead chose 30 players ahead of the three-match series against Queensland which starts in Sydney on May 26.

Gidley, who has taken over the Knights' No.7 shirt following the season-ending injury to Australian captain Andrew Johns, is one of three halfbacks named along with favoured contenders Craig Gower and Brett Kimmorley.

While Gidley came off the bench in Friday's City v Country match, Hornby, who has been playing fullback for the Dragons, did not even take part in that representative match.

Cross was a late call up to the City team for the injured Mark Gasnier.

A powerful performance for Country helped St George-Illawarra forward Brent Kite to nab a spot in the squad.

NSW squad:- Trent Barrett (Dragons), Willie Mason (Bulldogs), Danny Buderus (Knights), Anthony Minichiello (Roosters), Joel Clinton (Panthers), Ryan O'Hara (Raiders), Matt Cooper (Dragons), Mark O'Meley (Bulldogs), Ryan Cross (Roosters), Andrew Ryan (Bulldogs), Michael De Vere (Broncos), Jason Ryles (Dragons), Craig Fitzgibbon (Roosters), Jason Stevens (Sharks), Mark Gasnier (Dragons), Timana Tahu (Knights), Kurt Gidley (Knights), Lance Thompson (Dragons), Matthew Gidley (Knights), Shaun Timmins (Dragons), Craig Gower (Panthers), Trent Waterhouse (Panthers), Scott Hill (Storm), Craig Wing (Roosters), Nathan Hindmarsh (Eels), Ben Hornby (Dragons), Ben Kennedy (Knights), Brett Kimmorley (Sharks), Brent Kite (Dragons), Luke Lewis (Panthers).

Players not considered through injury: Daniel Abraham (Knights), Luke Bailey (Dragons), Nathan Blacklock (Dragons), Andrew Johns (Knights), Matt King (Storm), Steve Simpson (Knights).