Qld selectors mum on question of halves - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Qld selectors mum on question of halves

By Wayne Heming 12/06/2008 06:27:17 PM Comments (0)

Chairman of selectors Des Morris refused to buy into whether match-winning Origin halves Scott Prince and Johnathan Thurston would be split if champion Darren Lockyer returned from injury in time for next month's series decider in Sydney.

Lockyer rates himself "highly unlikely" to be available for Origin III at ANZ Stadium on July 2 with the series locked 1-1.

His availability would pose problems for Queensland selectors after they finally bowed to pressure and played Prince and Thurston in Wednesday night's 30-0 Origin drubbing of the Blues at Suncorp Stadium.

Lockyer says even if his knee improves enough to make a late bid to play, he probably wouldn't have the petrol in the tank required for the high intensity of Origin.

And he said it would be unfair if either Prince or Thurston lost their spots on the back of such a commanding performance.

"There's always injuries and suspensions in this game so let's wait and see what happens in the next two or three weeks," Morris said.

"Right now they're all just hypotheticals.

"Lockyer is still the premier player in the game and we just have to wait and see who is available in two weeks time."

Lockyer admits he's "rolled the dice" without winning a few times this season and after Wednesday night's big win said he wouldn't expect selectors to change the halves for the decider.

"It's very unlikely (I'd be back) and you don't change combinations like that after those sort of wins," said Lockyer.

"Even if I'm around I'd have very limited football so I'd be very unlikely for Origin III."

Queensland's selectors copped some flak and personal abuse for not picking Prince in the first two Origins.

But Morris said on Thursday it was difficult to have them both in the halves - and not just because they were dominant players.

"I think it was generally acknowledged that Thurston is the number one halfback in the country," said Morris.

"It was pretty hard to ask him to move or expect him to move to five-eighth to accommodate Princey, but in the end he did which made it easier."

Morris, who was unsure how NSW would react to Wednesday night's emphatic scoreline after Queensland's forwards, stung by first game criticism, stepped up a notch.

"You go through them and they all played better. Dallas (Johnson) played a lot better, Sam (Thaiday) played better, Michael Crocker certainly played better and Cam (Smith) was outstanding," said Morris.

"I don't think Petero (Civoniceva) was better because I don't think he could play much better than he did in Sydney and you throw Pricey (Steve Price) in.

"It's not a bad side when they all play well with the backs we have."

Morris said it was hard to say if NSW would make wholesale changes given they won the first game so well in Sydney.

"NSW were pretty fired up for the first Origin and in hindsight we may have been a bit complacent in Sydney.

"But that won't happen again."

Morris, who rated Queensland's win "right up there" said referee Tony Archer's improved policing of the ruck had helped Queensland's cause.

"In my opinion if anyone is going to keep it (penalties) to single digits, somebody is getting away with something," said Morris.

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