Test selectors set to reward Sea Eagles - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Test selectors set to reward Sea Eagles

By Steve Jancetic and David Beniuk 06/10/2008 07:59:17 PM Comments (0)

Manly's grand final success is set to be rewarded at the Australian selection table on Tuesday morning - but skipper Matt Orford is facing an uphill battle to end his representative exile.

Orford is locked in a three-way battle with grand final opposite Cooper Cronk and Queensland Origin playmaker Scott Prince for a berth as Johnathan Thurston's halfback understudy in Australia's 24-man Rugby League World Cup squad.

Overlooked by NSW selectors throughout his career, the nuggety playmaker put a stamp on his Dally M Medal-winning season with a dominant display throughout the finals.

"He's got to come under consideration as does Cooper Cronk - Cooper didn't let us down last year when we took him to New Zealand," selector Les Geeves said.

"Then of course we've got Johnathan Thurston and you've also got Scott Prince, it's a tough one."

The Sea Eagles had just one representative in the last Australian side, Brent Kite playing in the Centenary Test in May, while Brett Stewart was the only Eagle to take part in NSW's Origin campaign.

That representation is set to multiply on the back of Sunday night's victory though with Orford, Glenn and Brett Stewart, Josh Perry and Anthony Watmough all putting themselves in contention.

"It was a dominant display, the guys that have played in it have got to be looked at closely," Geeves said.

"Certainly there might be a few of them that we weren't looking at two days before the game - they haven't done themselves any harm.

"You've got to look at it from a performance perspective not only from that one match but also what they've done over the year.

"But you've also got to appreciate the little bit extra that the blokes in that Manly side have put in, blokes that might have been on the borderline before - they've put their hand up and we've got to say `alright you've showed us that you could perform."

One player unlikely to figure in selections is Jamie Lyon, who again said he would rather spend time with his family than play representative football.

Earlier this year Lyon turned down overtures from NSW coach Craig Bellamy to be a part of his Origin squad.

"I wish them all the best but my preference is not to play," Lyon told reporters.

Kite said he would be disappointed if the Sea Eagles didn't dominate the World Cup squad to be named Tuesday along with sides from New Zealand and England.

"That's what usually happens and I think we've had guys on the fringe of the Australian team for a while now so it would be great to see a handful of the guys in there," Kite said.

"I thought, not just on last night's performance, Anthony Watmough was just outstanding.

"Josh Perry, he's got to be, he's the form front-rower ... and Matt Orford maybe (and) Glenn Stewart."

Sea Eagles chief executive Grant Mayer also talked up the prospects of his players, despite the likely impact it would have on the club's coffers due to representative bonuses.

"As the CEO, you'd like to say all 17 (would be picked)," he said.

"That's not reality and I tend to think that a few guys have put their hand up over the last six weeks.

"We've got faith in the selectors that they'll pick the right team and I think there'll be a few Manly boys there."

Possible Australian squad: Darren Lockyer, (capt), Petero Civoniceva, Matt Cooper, Michael Crocker, Israel Folau, Paul Gallen, Kurt Gidley, Justin Hodges, Karmichael Hunt, Greg Inglis, Brent Kite, Anthony Laffranchi, Nate Myles, Josh Perry, Steve Price, Scott Prince, Billy Slater, Cameron Smith, Glenn Stewart, Brent Tate, Johnathan Thurston, Anthony Tupou, Anthony Watmough, Carl Webb.

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