The NSW Blues have been named for the first game of the 2017 #Origin series.
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Vodafone Warriors head coach Tony Kemp has predictably stayed with his winning combination for Saturday night?s NRL clash against North Queensland. The same 17 used in the memorable 30-18 win over Brisbane will travel to Townsville on Thursday morning with winger Todd Byrne returning from a one-week lay-off as 18th man. ?It was an easy decision after the way we performed against the Broncos,? said Kemp today. ?Every player in the squad contributed to one of the club?s best wins.? Byrne missed the match with a slight neck injury, allowing Manu Vatuvei to take his position against the Broncos. ?Todd?s fine now and it was always expected he?d come straight back into the squad after a week?s recovery,? said Kemp. He said the job for the players now was to re-focus on what was needed if the club is to make the finals for the fourth time in five years. ?While we?ve all enjoyed what happened at Ericsson Stadium last Sunday, the requirements change now. ?This match against the Cowboys is vital for us. They?re missing several players who have been picked in the Queensland State of Origin side but we haven?t won in Townsville since 2002. ?To win we have to work on maintaining and sustaining the consistency we showed in all parts of our game against Brisbane.? The Townsville match enables vice-captain Monty Betham to edge closer to the 100-game milestone when he makes his 94th NRL appearance. The Cowboys lie fifth on the points table with 20 points, four ahead of the 11th-placed Vodafone Warriors, who have won four of their last six matches.
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 18th MAN: TODD BYRNE