Preston Campbell says rep career is over - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Preston Campbell says rep career is over

By Daniel Pace 29/04/2008 05:53:47 AM Comments (0)

Gold Coast livewire fullback Preston Campbell has conceded his representative career is over after being overlooked for the NSW Country rugby league team.

Country selectors opted to draft St George Illawarra custodian Ben Hornby into the side to replace the injured Brett Stewart for Friday night's clash with City in Wollongong.

The diminutive Campbell has been in scintillating form for his NRL club, playing a key role in the Titans' march to the top of the table with six wins from seven matches.

The 2001 Dally M Medallist said the Country selectors had decided to adopt a youth policy, although he believed age shouldn't matter.

Asked whether his representative career was finished after playing for Country the past three years, Campbell replied: "Yeah, I think so.

"I didn't really think about that but now that you mention it, maybe it is (over).

"I'm 31 years old (in June) and they're obviously going for a much younger side.

"Age shouldn't matter in some ways.

"I'm not really disappointed. I'm happy in a smaller way, the fact I'll be able to concentrate on playing for the Titans now."

A modest Campbell said it was a shame he never had an opportunity to represent NSW in State of Origin during the peak of his powers when he played for Cronulla (1999-2002) and Penrith (2003-06).

"I'm not sure what I would've had to do to make the Origin side," he said.

"At the time I thought there were great players around when I was younger and playing my best football who couldn't be replaced."

Plagued by a string of injuries over the past three years, Campbell attributed his good form to feeling mentally and physically strong.

He scored a try and had a hand in two others against the New Zealand Warriors on Sunday as the Titans posted a record fifth consecutive win.

Campbell's teammate Anthony Laffranchi can consider himself unlucky to miss out on Australian Test selection for Friday week's Centenary Test against New Zealand in Sydney.

The workhorse back-rower will have a chance to press his Origin claims playing for Country but as a prop forward - a positional change Campbell disagrees with.

"I think he's really excelled playing in the back-row," Campbell said.

"They've probably just looked at his workrate and thought he'd be able to play front-row.

"If you pick someone, pick someone in their position so they can prove themselves.

"Not that I think Boof (Laffranchi) has to prove himself. He's done enough to gain a spot in the NSW side."

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