Grothe finally gets his Origin call - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Grothe finally gets his Origin call

By Steve Jancetic 17/05/2006 07:21:40 PM Comments (0)

Six years after a knee injury robbed him of an Origin debut, Parramatta winger Eric Grothe will finally emulate the deeds of his famous father and take to the field in the sky blue of NSW.

On Wednesday Grothe was called into the Blues squad for next week's State of Origin rugby league opener at Telstra Stadium, replacing centre Matt Cooper after the St George Illawarra three-quarter failed to recover from a hamstring injury.

Cooper, who initially sustained the injury on the weekend, broke down during a training session on Tuesday afternoon, and was officially ruled out on Wednesday morning.

Grothe's inclusion in the Blues line-up completes a remarkable resurrection for the Eels winger, his representative career appearing to be in tatters only a week ago when he failed to front for a City Origin team medical after a big night out on the town.

But after an apoplectic phone call to ARL chief executive to explain his actions, all was forgiven, and now he and Grothe snr are set to join Steve and Mat Rogers and John and Martin Lang as the only father-son combinations to play Origin football.

"I just wanted to explain what happened, that I'd made a mistake, that I didn't do it intentionally and act like I was bigger than the game," Grothe said of his call to Carr.

"I just wanted to say sorry.

"I didn't really think I'd get to play at this level again, but it's happened and I'm just excited. I don't really know what to think, I haven't really had time to think about it yet."

He could do worse than to emulate his famous father's Origin debut, Grothe snr scoring two tries in his first match in 1981 and finishing his career with three tries from nine appearances for NSW.

The Parramatta flyer's inclusion on the wing will cause a backline reshuffle, with Eels teammate Timana Tahu to move into the centres.

Just who his centre partner will be next Wednesday night will be decided on Thursday, with Mark Gasnier to undergo a fitness test on his injured hip.

Gasnier ran with the rest of his Blues teammates at this Wednesday morning's session at the Randwick Barracks, and said he wanted to make a decision as early as possible in order to give his replacement - Penrith's Luke Lewis - as much time as possible to prepare for the match.

Such is the uncertainty of whether he will play, official team photographers were forced to take two different shots - one with Gasnier in the frame and the other with Lewis in his place.

"I think it has to be made tomorrow," Gasnier said of the decision.

"If I am fit to play then (Lewis) should be available to go back and play for his club, it's important to club football as well and just for the preparation side of things too.

"Origin's not exactly an un-intense game so to speak, you've really got to get your head around it and a week's a good time to do that.

"I feel okay but it is an injury which can react sometimes later, so I'll see how it is tomorrow and make a decision with the medical staff."

NSW coach Graham Murray said Gasnier's availability would determine exactly how the three-quarters would line up, though it is assumed Parramatta pair Tahu and Grothe will reprise their role with the Eels and play together on the left.

"We play together at club level, so I think they'll keep that combination going," Tahu said.

"I always wanted to play on the same side as Eric. The last couple of games we've been playing together, talking a lot during training, through the week, and we're getting a pretty good understanding."

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