Little new blood for Roos - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Little new blood for Roos

By Adrian Warren 13/10/2003 06:38:11 PM Comments (0)

Australian Rugby League selectors opted for a few droplets of new blood rather than a full transfusion in the team to tackle New Zealand at North Harbour Stadium this Saturday.

After all the hoo haa generated by the unavailability of almost 20 players, the selectors decided against stacking the side with international neophytes and chose just one debutant in the starting side, Brisbane centre Michael De Vere.

The bench included two more newcomers, Cronulla utility Phil Bailey and powerful New Zealand Warriors forward Richard Villasanti.

None of the premiership-winning Penrith team made the starting side, though Panthers skipper Craig Gower was named on the bench alongside Bailey, Villasanti and Bulldog Willie Mason.

Four players from the Roosters losing grand final team were chosen in the run-on team, winger Anthony Minichiello, centre Shannon Hegarty and back rowers Luke Ricketson and Craig Fitzgibbon.

Brisbane fullback Darren Lockyer will captain the side in the absence of Andrew Johns, whose half-back spot went to Brett Kimmorley.

"It's a big, strong side, a big pack of forwards with some good pace out wide, a bit of experience and a bit of youth, so I think it's a fairly good side," Australian coach Chris Anderson said.

"Villasanti and Mason coming off the bench will be great for us. They will give us a lot of impact and Phil Bailey can cover all the second row plus centre.

"Mick De Vere is solid. He's a very strong defender and won't let you down and his effort is tremendous, he will be good for us."

While De Vere was the fourth leading points scorer in this year's premiership, Anderson said Roosters second rower Fitzgibbon would be his first choice kicker with the Broncos centre as back-up.

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