Michaels in Qld Origin preliminary squad - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Michaels in Qld Origin preliminary squad

28/04/2009 02:36:39 PM Comments (0)

Under-fire Broncos flyer Steve Michaels has been included in an initial 25-strong Queensland State of Origin rugby league squad.

Barely 24 hours after there were calls for him to be stood down from the NRL for attracting police attention at Byron Bay with Brisbane teammate Nick Kenny, Michaels was one of seven Broncos players named in the squad on Tuesday.

Michaels is one of four players yet to make their Origin debut included in the preliminary squad.

The others are Manly's Matt Ballin, Canberra forward David Shillington and Melbourne halfback Cooper Cronk.

Notable absentees include Cowboys duo Matt Bowen and Carl Webb.

There were only two North Queensland players included - halfback Johnathan Thurston and Willie Tonga.

A player who can consider himself unlucky to miss out is New Zealand Warriors forward Michael Luck.

He became the first player in NRL history to crack the 70-tackle barrier last weekend against Melbourne.

It added to his legendary defensive reputation - he has led the NRL for the past two seasons with 957 tackles in 2008 and 959 in 2007.

However, Queensland chairman of selectors Des Morris said players who missed selection in the initial squad could still force their way into the Maroons team for the June 3 opener at Melbourne.

The final Maroons 17 for game one will be announced on May 26.

Queensland are vying for an unprecedented fourth straight Origin series win in 2009.

Cronk's inclusion adds further intrigue to the Queensland halfback debate.

Scott Prince of the Gold Coast Titans has put Cowboys skipper Thurston under plenty of pressure this season.

But Cronk is apparently also in the mix after his squad selection.

And it seems all is forgiven also for Roosters forward Nate Myles who made the squad despite being disciplined recently by his NRL club for breaching their alcohol policy.

After Myles was disciplined, Queensland coach Mal Meninga stressed that off-field attitude and behaviour was just as important as on-field form when considering the Origin side.

Meninga said at the time that Myles' alcohol breach "hadn't helped" his Origin selection chances.

Queensland preliminary squad: Matt Ballin (Sea Eagles), Darius Boyd (Dragons), Petero Civoniceva (Panthers), Neville Costigan (Dragons), Cooper Cronk (Storm), Israel Folau (Broncos), Ben Hannant (Bulldogs), Ashley Harrison (Titans), Justin Hodges (Broncos), Karmichael Hunt (Broncos), Greg Inglis (Storm), Dallas Johnson (Storm), Darren Lockyer (Broncos), Steve Michaels (Broncos), Nate Myles (Roosters), Corey Parker (Broncos), Steven Price (Warriors), Scott Prince (Titans), Billy Slater (Storm), Cameron Smith (Storm), David Shillington (Raiders), David Stagg (Bulldogs), Sam Thaiday (Broncos), Johnathan Thurston (Cowboys), Willie Tonga (Cowboys).

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