The NSW Blues have been named for the first game of the 2017 #Origin series.
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Teenager Simon Mannering is set to make his belated debut but top try-scorer Todd Byrne is out of the Vodafone Warriors side for their historic NRL clash against Brisbane at Ericsson Stadium on Sunday. Mannering, the 18-year-old Napier-born Nelson product, was a late withdrawal after originally being picked for his first outing in the fourth-round encounter with South Sydney in early April. But on Sunday he?s poised to become the side?s first NRL debutant this year ? and the 125th first-grade player in the club?s history ? after being named today on the interchange bench. Back in the side are veteran prop Ruben Wiki and long-serving Monty Betham who both missed last Saturday night?s loss to Parramatta with minor knee injuries. While they return it has been confirmed second rower Louis Anderson will be out for 8-10 weeks with a knee injury while head coach Tony Kemp also revealed left winger Byrne is out of Sunday?s anniversary celebration match. ?Todd has picked up a neck injury that needs recovery time,? he said. Byrne ranks second-equal on the NRL?s try-scoring chart with 12 in his 14 appearances for his new club. Replacing him is giant winger Manu Vatuvei who missed the last two matches against Melbourne and Parramatta. Kemp was delighted Mannering could at last make his first appearance. ?He was all set to play against the Rabbitohs several weeks ago,? he said. ?He?s well over his foot injury and has been playing really well for Wellington in the Bartercard Cup.? Standing 1.90m and weighing 94kg, Mannering is equally adept playing in the centres or in the back row. With Betham and Wiki returning as predicted, back-up hooker Tevita Latu and interchange forward Epalahame Lauaki drop off the bench while 137-game veteran Awen Guttenbeil moves into the starting line-up to replace the injured Anderson. ?Awen put in a Herculean effort against Parramatta last Saturday night, playing 74 minutes and topping our tackle count with 37. He demanded a place in the starting side,? said Kemp. Team doctor Chris Hanna said a scan had confirmed the original assessment of Anderson?s injuries. A dislocated knee cap and a medial ligament strain will keep him out for up to 10 weeks but Anderson won?t require surgery. He?s scheduled to return for the Vodafone Warriors? last match of the regular season against Manly in round 25. Kemp said he and the players were excited about the significance of Sunday?s match against Brisbane, the Vodafone Warriors? 255th match since entering the Winfield Cup 10 years ago. The Vodafone Warriors will wear a 1995 replica playing strip on a day when many aspects of the club?s original match against the Broncos on March 10, 1995, will be revived. The players will emerge from the tunnel at the north-eastern corner of the stadium, walking through two rows of flames and a Maori welcoming party. As well as that the Polynesian drummers will be reappearing. ?It?s a huge day for the club and everyone?s looking forward to it,? said Kemp. ?And it?ll be great to see some of the original players at the ground.? The Broncos go into the match leading the competition after 10 straight wins while the Vodafone Warriors remain just outside the top eight. In the last nine encounters between the two teams, they have beaten Brisbane six times including a 24-12 victory at Suncorp Stadium in March. Sean Hampstead has been appointed to referee Sunday?s match.
1 BRENT WEBB 2 FRANCIS MELI 3 CLINTONTOOPI 4 JEROME ROPATI 5 MANU VATUVEI 6 NATHAN FIEN 7 STACEY JONES (C) 8 RUBEN WIKI 9 LANCE HOHAIA 10 IAFETA PALEAAESINA 11 AWEN GUTTENBEIL 12 WAIRANGI KOOPU 13 SIONE FAUMUINA 14 RICHARD VILLASANTI 15 KARL TEMATA 16 MONTY BETHAM 17 SIMON MANNERING