Overnight Origin news

SENIOR prop Petero Civoniceva says Queensland can overcome its abysmal Telstra Stadium record by feeding off the big Sydney crowd next Wednesday night. Civoniceva says he and fellow veteran front-rower Steve Price will have to lead the way for a forward pack that includes five rookies - two of them Nate Myles and Sam Thaiday - coming off the bench.

Player movements: Sharks

FORMER Kangaroo forward Richard Villasanti says he is ready to revive his NRL career after what he describes as two years in the wilderness at the New Zealand Warriors. Villasanti will make his Cronulla debut this weekend after being named to start on the bench for Sunday's clash against the Bulldogs at Telstra Stadium.

Wigan sign Phil Bailey for next season

WIGAN have signed Cronulla and Australian Test Centre Phil Bailey on a three-year contract.

Afternoon Origin news

NSW centre Mark Gasnier says a decision on whether he will play in next week's opening State Of Origin match will be made within the next 24-hours.

Grothe in for NSW

ERIC Grothe has been called into the NSW side to replace injured centre Matt Cooper for the opening State of Origin rugby league game at Telstra Stadium next Wednesday.St George Illawarra star Cooper has been ruled out after failing to recover from a fitness test at training yesterday. Grothe will start on the wing with his Parramatta team mate Timana Tahu shifting to the centres.Cooper's Dragons team mate Mark Gasnier will undertake a fitness assessment on his hip today after recovering from a virus that prevented him from training yesterday.

Grothe in for NSW

ERIC Grothe has been called into the NSW side to replace injured centre Matt Cooper for the opening State of Origin rugby league game at Telstra Stadium next Wednesday.

Origin special - QLD line-up

TODAY we get Michael Treacy's thoughts on the Queensland side as they prepare for next Wednesday's big stoush with the Blues.---1. Matt BowenBowen was very harshly treated by Australian selectors for the Anzac Test but he will get his chance to shine in Origin. Criticism of his skill under the high ball has been somewhat unwarranted. However, I suspect that he will switch with Greg Inglis at some stage of the match to confuse the NSW kickers. I?d anticipate Bowen?s role during the match would be to use his speed against the big forwards and backs from NSW, searching for that inside ball off Lockyer or Thurston. This combination will be pivotal this series.2. Greg InglisGreg Inglis has lived up to the hype he received pre-season as the next big thing. He has speed, strength, agility and the brains of a veteran. He is the complete footballer. Even though he is on the wing, he will still in my opinion play fullback at some stage during the match. I?d expect Inglis to come searching for work at the back end of each half trying to exploit fatigued defenders from NSW. I can?t wait to see this kid play Origin. It should be something to behold as we have all seen how exciting he is. 3. Justin HodgesHodges has definitely resurrected his career since returning to Brisbane last year. His football just keeps improving and hopefully this time around we won?t see any passes in the in-goal. He has been dynamic at centre this year, breaking tackles at will and creating many opportunities for his winger. I believe the left side of Inglis and Hodges will see the majority of ball from Lockyer and Thurston due to the Brisbane connection and also due to the fact this is where most of the inroads for tries will present themselves against Grothe and Tahu.4. Brent TateI, like many others, believed that Tate and Steve Bell would be switched around in this side, however selectors thought differently. Tate has just recently returned from injury but no one can doubt his ability. He is a strong hole runner and solid defender and basically a back that was made to play origin football. 5. Steven BellSteve Bell is in my opinion the second best centre in the competition this season. Bell just quietly goes about his business leaving devastation in his wake. He is the NRL equal top try scorer and on top for line breaks this season. Bell?s selection for QLD is long overdue but he will finally get his chance to shine in the Origin arena. How he?ll go at winger is anyone?s guess. However, I?m of the opinion that he will play centre come game time and so he should. 6. Darren Lockyer (c)Lockyer?s form since the Test Match has just been magnificent, it seemed to really give him the boost of confidence he needed. He has a renewed vigour and bounce in his step and his vision during a game is as sharp as ever. The 6 and 7 for QLD has it all over NSW and this will be a determining factor in the result of this series. 7. Jonathon ThurstonThurston has been dominant figure in the NRL this season and the reason the Cowboys have fared so well. While last season Thurston first wore the QLD jersey, I believe he has improved substantially since that time. Last series, he looked nervous - as though he didn?t know if he could match it. He has now had experience in big games and big arenas. He now knows that he deserves to be in this quality of football. This will only help his football and the QLD side 8. Steve PriceSteve Price has been going well for the Warriors. While the team seems inconsistent, you can always be assured Price will be giving 110%. He loves this Maroon jersey and in big matches he always takes his game to another level and I expect the same thing this time around. He?ll be the pivotal go forward player and his experience will help the younger forwards playing their debut Origin series. 9. Cameron SmithCameron Smith has yet again taken his game to another level this year. Melbourne?s perennial rise over the last month and a half is predominately on the back of his and Inglis?s good work and vision during play. His in-field kicking will be a prominent feature of his game this series as well as his dummy half running and ability to sniff out a weakness. I believe this will be the series where Smith stamps his authority on Origin. 10. Petero CivoniceivaWhile Petero is the veteran of the team, it won?t be a tag that sits kindly with the giant from Brisbane. He had an indifferent start to the season but gradually he began to regain form. He, along with Webcke, has laid a solid foundation for Brisbane with tremendous go forward and tenacity in defence. Both Civoniceiva and Price will be crucial in leading the way and setting a good example for the younger players in the team. 11. Matthew ScottWhat a year it has been for Matthew Scott, not even the barnstorming prop himself could imagine the great start to the season he has had. Scott has proven he could not only fill the void left by Paul Rauhihi, but improve the team. His hard running, strong defence and great mental application to the game have paved the way for his debut in Origin.12. David StaggI was a firm believer Stagg should have been selected last season as I believe he was playing better football last season. When viewing his selection I thought maybe I would rather an impact player such as Canberra?s Tom Learoyd-Lars but then you have to think of the role the player will have in the game. QLD will most definitely use both Johnson and Stagg for the entire 80 minutes, allowing a solid rotation policy with the other three forwards. Stagg?s selection is overdue and I hope he can cement his spot for future Origin series. 13. Dallas JohnsonDo my eyes deceive me? Where is TBA! On a serious note, Dallas Johnson?s selection is a year overdue. The tenacious lock has once again been in brilliant form for Melbourne and finally he has been rewarded with selection. I?d expect Dallas to play the entire 80 minutes and be an integral part of Mal Meninga?s defensive structure to nullify the NSW big men. Interchange:14. Shaun BerriganWhile many may question Berrigan?s selection, he is a utility player of the highest order. He has the ability to cover centre, five-eighth, half and hooker with ease and his versatility will only be of benefit to QLD. He will rotate with Cameron Smith and later in the game possibly Johnson or Stagg should fatigue set in, allowing another dummy half runner. 15. Carl WebbI have always been of the belief Carl Webb is a great bench impact player. With O?Meley coming off the bench for NSW, you can be sure to expect fireworks when they clash. Webb v O?Meley will be one of the highlights of the series. 16. Sam ThaidayPlaying for Toowoomba early in the season, Thaiday emerged in round 5 and six rounds later has impressed enough to secure an Origin jersey. I?m hoping he has the same hard running attitude in origin that he has shown so far this season. 17. Nate MylesNate Myles?s selection may have come as a shock to some, but I have been a tremendous supporter of his. He is exactly the type of forward Origin needs and will provide great impact off the bench with penetrating runs and bone shattering defence.

Lockyer injured in mishap

QUEENSLAND Maroons State of Origin captain Darren Lockyer has received two stitches above his right eye following an accident at the team's Sunshine Coast camp.

Gasnier still unable to train

NEW Souths Wales centre Mark Gasnier has missed a Blues training session on Tuesday afternoon after coming down with a 'stomach bug'.Gasnier suffered a hip injury while playing for the St George Illawarra Dragons in their round 9 NRL match. He was named in the NSW side for next week's opening State of Origin clash despite being sidelined for the round 10 encounter.Gasnier's team mate and centre partner Matt Cooper trained lightly and continues to recover from a hamstring injury. The news was also better for Luke O'Donnell, the North Queensland Cowboys back rower is recovering from a rib injury but completed a light session at Sydney's Coogee Oval .New South Wales coach Graham Murray says he is not overly concerned about Gasnier's latest setback."Mark's got a stomach bug so he's training indoors. I don't know how serious it is, he's just ill." Murray told AAP."I mean he's just ill, I don't know what else I can say there."Luke Lewis (Penrith Panthers) and Eric Grothe (Parramatta Eels) have been put on stand by with a decision on the fitness of Gasnier and Cooper expected later this week.In other news, Sean Hampstead has been appointed to referee next Wednesday's match at Telstra Stadium.

Round 11 Teams and Fixtures

FRIDAY, 19th May 2006Penrith v Parramatta at CUA Stadium, 7.30pmPanthers: Rhys Wesser, Michael Gordon, Danny Galea, Lee Hookey, Luke Rooney, Luke Lewis, Preston Campbell, Joel Clinton, Luke Priddis, Matthew Cross, Frank Pritchard, Tony Puletua (c), Trent WaterhouseInterchange: Frank Puletua, Craig Stapleton, Matthew Bell, Paul AitonEels: Wade McKinnon, Jarryd Hayne, Brett Delaney, Luke O'Dwyer, Eric Grothe, John Morris, Jeremy Smith, Fuifui Moimoi, PJ Marsh, Paul Stringer, Daniel Wagon, Chad Robinson, Glenn Morrison (c)Interchange: Zeb Taia, Dean Widders, Josh Cordoba, Michael VellaReferee: S ClarkSaturday, 20th May 2006New Zealand v Wests at Ericsson Stadium, 5.30pmWarriors: Brent Webb, Manu Vatuvei, Tony Martin, Simon Mannering, Misi Taulapapa, Jerome Ropati, Grant Rovelli, Ruben Wiki (c), Nathan Fien, Evarn Tuimavave, Awen Guttenbeil, Wairangi Koopu, Sione FaumuinaInterchange: George Gatis, Sam Rapira, Louis Anderson, Micheal LuckTigers: Shannon McDonnell, Daniel Fitzhenry, Dean Collis, Paul Whatuira, Shane Elford, Benji Marshall, Scott Prince (c), Todd Payten, Robbie Farah, John Skandalis, Bryce Gibbs, Anthony Laffranchi, Jamaal LolesiInterchange: Chris Heighington, Dene Halatau, Keith Galloway, Ryan O'Hara, Taniela Tuiaki (one to be omitted)Referee: J MaxwellNewcastle v Canberra at Energy Australia Stadium, 7.30pmKnights: David Seage, Brian Carney, Matthew Gidley, George Carmont, Anthony Quinn, Kurt Gidley, Andrew Johns (c), Craig Smith, Riley Brown, Adam Woolnough, Kirk Reynoldson, Todd Lowrie, Reegan TannerInterchange: Luke Davico, Jarrod Mullen, Josh Perry, Chris BaileyRaiders: Clinton Schifcofske (c), Adrian Purtell, Phil Graham, Adam Mogg, David Howell, Jason Smith, Lincoln Withers, Andrew Lomu, Simon Woolford, Troy Thompson, Thom Learoyd-Lars, Jason Croker, Alan TongueInterchange: Marshall Chalk, Ben Jones, Michael Hodgson, Jason WilliamsReferee: J RobinsonManly v Melbourne at Brookvale Oval, 7.30pmSea Eagles: Brett Stewart, Michael Robertson, Paul Stephenson, Steve Matai, Chris Hicks, Travis Burns, Matt Orford, Mark Bryant, Michael Monaghan, Phil Morwood, Glenn Stewart, Anthony Watmough, Luke Williamson.Interchange: Shane Dunley, Nathan Tutt, George Rose, Jason Wells, Mailangi Styles (one to be omitted)Storm: Steve Turner, Matt Geyer, Jake Webster, Chris Walker, Smith Samau, Scott Hill, Cooper Cronk, Garrett Crossman, Nathan Friend, Brett White, David Kidwell, Ryan Hoffman, Jeremy SmithInterchange: Ian Donnelly, Jamie Feeney, Antonio Kaufusi, Adam Blair, Ben Cross, Mat Bartlett (two to be omitted)Referee: G BadgerSunday, 21st May 2006Canterbury v Cronulla at Telstra Stadium, 2.30pmBulldogs: Luke Patten, Hazem El Masri, Cameron Phelps, Willie Tonga, Matt Utai, Daniel Holdsworth, Brent Sherwin, Chris Armit, Corey Hughes, Roy Asotasi, Tony Grimaldi (c), Sonny Bill Williams, Reni MaituaInterchange: Billy Ngawini, Dallas McIlwain, Brad Morrin, Jarrad HickeySharks: David Simmons, Darren Albert, Beau Scott, Phil Bailey, Luke Covell, Greg Bird, Brett Kearney, James Stosic, Kevin Kingston, Luke Douglas, Reece Williams, Cameron Ciraldo, Paul GallenInterchange: Hutch Maiava, Matt Hilder, Richard Villasanti, Tevita Latu, Brett Kimmorley (one to be omitted)Referee: T ArcherSydney v South Sydney at Aussie Stadium, 3.00pmRoosters: Amos Roberts, Vince Mellars, Setaimata Sa, Chris Flannery, Sam Perrett, Ashley Harrison, Brett Finch, Adrian Morley, John Doyle, David Shillington, Nigel Plum, Craig Fitzgibbon, Anthony TupouInterchange: Heath L'estrange, Lopini Paea, Charles Tonga, Glenn HallSouth Sydney: Luke MacDougall, Nathan Merritt, John Sutton, Adam MacDougall, Shannon Hegarty, Ben Rogers, Joe Williams, Peter Cusack (c), Shane Walker, Jaiman Lowe, David Faalogo, Joe Galuvao, Stuart WebbInterchange: Mark Minichiello, Michael Greenfield, Manase Manuokafoa, Shane RigonReferee: S HayneThe Brisbane Broncos, North Queensland Cowboys and St George Illawarra Dragons have the bye in Round 11.

Team of Steel announced

THE Illawarra Steelers today announced the nominees for its two ?Team of Steel? centre positions which will be announced at the Club?s 25th Anniversary Dinner to be held at the WIN Entertainment Centre (Wollongong) on Tuesday 6th June made possible through the support of Cleary Bros. The nominees for the two centre positions are:? Brian Hetherington? Paul McGregor ? Brett Rodwell? Shaun TimminsThe identity of the Team of Steel will be a closely guarded secret until the big night.Tomorrow we will announce the nominees for the five eighth position.Tickets to the Steelers 25th Anniversary Dinner presented by Cleary Bros, where the Team of Steel will be announced, are $110 each or $1,000 for a table of 10. Bookings can be made by contacting Julie Nicoll from the Illawarra Steelers on (02) 4224 8718.The nominee details on the following pages have been provided by David Middleton, League Information Services Pty Ltd.For more information please contact:Bob MillwardIllawarra Steelers Director/25th Anniversary Organiser0412 320013Centre nominee details:Brian HetheringtonClub prior to playing with the Steelers NewtownYears played with the Steelers 144 appearances (1982 ? 88)Points scored 98 (Tries: 25)Representative achievements 1984 ? One match for Country Firsts 1985 ? One match for City Seconds 1986 ? One match for City Firsts 1984 ? 86: Two State of Origin matches for NSWPaul McGregorClub prior to playing with the Steelers DaptoYears played with the Steelers 124 appearances (1991 - 98)Points scored 176 (Tries: 44)Representative achievements 1991 ? One match for City Firsts 1992 ? 97: Five matches for Country Origin 1992 ? 98: 14 State of Origin matches for NSW 1994 ? 97: Four tests for AustraliaBrett RodwellClub prior to playing with the Steelers Wests WollongongYears played with the Steelers 156 appearances (1989 - 97)Points scored 256 (Tries: 60, Goals: 8)Representative achievements 1991 ? 95: Three matches for Country Origin 1994 ? 97: One State of Origin match for NSWShaun TimminsClub prior to playing with the Steelers KiamaYears played with the Steelers 86 appearances (1994 - 98)Points scored 135 (Tries: 28, Goals: 11, F/goals: 1)Representative achievements NilCRITERIA FOR SELECTION ?TEAM OF STEEL? 1982 ? 19981. The team was selected by a panel of 3 judges - appointed by the Illawarra Steelers Board.2. The criteria used by the judges was to select 13 players, plus 4 bench replacement players - based on their playing performances while playing first grade with the Illawarra Steelers for any period between the 1982 season and the 1998 season, which was the last of the Steelers prior to forming a joint venture with St George in 1999.3. The selection panel was also asked to name a coach for the ?Team of Steel? as well as a captain and vice-captain.

XXXX QLD Under 19 Team Change

FORWARD Ben Matterson has been called into the 2006 XXXX Queensland Under 19 team, replacing Paoa Faamita of the Bulldogs.

Riddell and Smith dropped to reserves

PARRAMATTA Eels hooker Mark Riddell and halfback Tim Smith have been dropped from first grade for this Friday's NRL match against the Penrith Panthers. The duo will be relegated to Premier League and fined $5,000 each after turning up to training drunk yesterday.The incident follows the shock resignation of coach Brian Smith yesterday with Jason Taylor taking over as interim coach.Eels chief executive Denis Fitzgerald said the pair had been drinking together at a local pub but the inicident was not related to Brian Smith's departure."They have let a number of people down with their behaviour, and the club will not tolerate it," Fitzgerald told the ABC."It's rare for any Parramatta players to have any problems off the field and we pride ourselves on the good culture that's been set down."[It's] a lot to do with Brian Smith and certainly a lot to do with the senior players, Hindmarsh, [Nathan] Cayless and [Michael] Vella in the nine years they've been with the club."Both players have issued apologies and Riddell said he was embarrassed by his actions."I've brought the club into disrepute," he admitted."I'd also like to apologise to my family. I made a bad decision yesterday. A wrong choice, and I've accepted the punishment."Riddell is expected to be replaced by PJ Marsh at hooker while Jeremy Smith has been named as half-back.

Afternoon Origin news

NEW South Wales centre Mark Gasnier has hit another hurdle in his race to be fit for next week's opening State of Origin clash against Queensland. Already battling to overcome a hip injury, the Dragons NRL star was unable to train with the Blues today because of a stomach bug.

Warriors v Wests Tigers teams round 11

WESTS Tigers Coach Tim Sheens has named his side to play the Warriors at Ericsson Stadium on Saturday, May 20. Kick-off is 5.30pm (AEST)Meanwhile New Zealand Warriors coach Ivan Cleary has dropped Kiwis Test centre Clinton Toopi from the team after he failed to impress last weekend.The match will be centre Tony Martin's 99th first-grade appearance.WarriorsBrent WebbManu VatuveiTony MartinSimon ManneringMisi TaulapapaJerome RopatiGrant RovelliRuben Wiki (captain)Nathan FienEvarn TuimavaveAwen GuttenbeilWairangi KoopuSione FaumuinaInterchange:George GatisSam RapiraLouis AndersonMicheal LuckWests Tigers1 Shannon McDonnell2 Daniel Fitzhenry3 Dean Collis4 Paul Whatuira5 Shane Elford6 Benji Marshall7 Scott Prince (c)8 Todd Payten (c)9 Robbie Farah10 John Skandalis11 Bryce Gibbs12 Anthony Laffranchi13 Jamaal Lolesi 14 Chris Heighington15 Dene Halatau16 Keith Galloway17 Ryan O'Hara19 Taniela Tuiaki Wests Tigers casualty ward and unavailableBen Galea (hamstring - rd 12) Sam Harris (ankle - rd 15)Liam Fulton (shoulder - season)Brett Hodgson (NSW Origin)

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