A preliminary 22-man squad has been named by the Maroons for the up-coming State of Origin series against New South Wales on 25th May.
Perhaps the only surprise is Storm utility forward Dallas Johnson, but most of the rest of the squad has picked itself with inform Cowboy Jonathan Thurston included as well as veteran Raider Jason Smith. Fellow club-mate Clinton Schifcofske wasn't so lucky, once again finding himself on the outer.
IT was one of 2004?s great highlights ? the 2004 preliminary final against the Cowboys. Despite the entire league world willing the North Queensland fairytale to continue, the Roosters? picked up an emotional win to charge to their third successive grand final. And come Saturday night in Townsville, Roosters coach Ricky Stuart has called on his players to show all of their character in order to prevent the second-placed Cowboys gaining revenge infront of over 20,000 raucous Queenslanders.
IT has been a long time coming, but we?re finally ready to re-open the mailbag to see what thoughts are on everybody?s mind. This week, we were sent emails on travels to Toyota Park, rumoured player signings and our very own video gallery. Let?s clear out the cobwebs and see what?s in store.
THIS week's mob is a tough bunch with a few players out of their accustomed positions, but the League Unlimited selection panel is firmly of the view that each player can hold their own where they've been selected. This team could give any club in the NRL a working over and are oozing point-scoring ability. Here is the Round 7 League Unlimited Team of the Week.
MONDAY'S Anzac Day clash had an unusually high judiciary scrutiny, with five players cited.
MITSUBISHI Electric Bulldogs coach Steve Folkes has named Charlie Tonga to make his first grade debut this Saturday evening against the Eels at Telstra Stadium. Tonga will become the 24th player used by Folkes in first grade this season in just 7 games.
NORTH Queensland Cowboys coach Grahan Murray has named his side to take on the Roosters at Dairy Farmers Stadium on Saturday night, kick off at 7.30pm
THE Canberra Raiders have chosen young Queenslander Marshall Chalk to replace Clinton Schifcofske at fullback for this Sunday?s match against the Newcastle Knights.
CRONULLA Sharks coach Stuart Raper has named his team to take on the Melbourne Storm at Olympic Park in Melbourne on Saturday afternoon.
Coach Rapers team is;
1 DAVID PEACHEY
2 DAVID SIMMONS
3 NIGEL VAGANA
4 PAUL MELLOR
5 LUKE COVELL
6 ADAM DYKES
7 BRETT KIMMORLEY
8 JASON STEVENS
9 MATT HILDER
10 DANNY NUTLEY
11 REECE WILLIAMS
12 PHIL BAILEY
13 PAUL GALLEN
DRAGONS coach Nathan Brown has named the same winning team from the ANZAC Day match for their Round 8 clash with the West Tigers at Telstra Stadium on Sunday.
PARRAMATTA Eels head coach Brian Smith has named his side for this weekend's game against the Bulldogs.
ADAM Woolnough?s move from the bench to the starting side is the only change made to the Knights team that went down narrowly to the Bulldogs last Sunday.
WESTS Tigers Head Coach, Tim Sheens has announced his squad for the Wests Tigers v Dragons Game at Telstra Stadium, kick off at 3.00pm.
RUBEN Wiki?s return and Nathan Fien?s move to standoff are the two major features in the Vodafone Warriors side to face Penrith in their NRL clash at Ericsson Stadium on Sunday.
After missing four matches through suspension, prop Wiki (32) went head to head with his front row team-mate and captain Steve Price in last Friday night?s Anzac Test in Brisbane.
Now Wiki and Price are set to be reunited for the Vodafone Warriors for the first time since the 24-12 win against Brisbane on March 19.
?It was pleasing to see Ruben get through a lot of work in the test (including 30 tackles),? said Vodafone Warriors head coach Tony Kemp.
?He?s bursting to get back into it and he couldn?t be coming back at a more important time for us.?
Fien (25), who?ll play his 98th first grade game on Sunday, started each of the club?s first six matches at hooker this year but was moved to standoff at a critical time in the Vodafone Warriors? thrilling 30-26 win over Newcastle.
?Nathan has done an outstanding job for us at hooker but he gave us a lot of direction when we moved him to standoff in Newcastle so we?re going to start him there on Sunday,? said Kemp.
That means Kiwi test hooker Louis Anderson will wear the No 9 jersey against the Panthers while Jerome Ropati, a double try-scorer in his Kiwi test debut against the Kangaroos, again starts at fullback with fellow international Brent Webb still out of contention with a back injury.
With Sione Faumuina due to miss two matches with a knee injury, Kemp has been forced to reshuffle his back-row combination. Kiwi second rower Wairangi Koopu moves to loose forward for his 99th NRL appearance while Karl Temata, a front row starter against the Knights, partners Awen Guttenbeil in the second row.
Props Iafeta Paleaaesina and Richard Villasanti will again come off the bench against Penrith, as will Epalahame Lauaki who made a significant combination as an impact player in the dramatic win over Newcastle.
After starring for Australia in Friday night?s test, Price was today named in an initial 22-man Queensland squad for this year?s first State of Origin clash in Brisbane on May 25. He finished the test on the bench with a hamstring injury but early indications are he will be fit to line up against Penrith.
The Vodafone Warriors go into the match lying seventh on the NRL ladder after collecting two points from their bye last weekend. While they have three wins and three losses, the Panthers (10th) had their fourth defeat of the year on Saturday night when beaten 36-22 by the Cowboys.
PENRITH Panthers head coach John Lang has named his side to travel to Auckland to face the Warriors at Ericsson Stadium on Sunday afternoon.