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Blues vow to stand up to rampant Maroons

26/05/2009 05:26:46 PM Comments (0)

NSW's batch of unheralded rookies have vowed not to shirk the challenge of upsetting rampant Queensland as injuries and a potential suspension continue to disrupt the Blues' State of Origin preparation.

Skipper Kurt Gidley (knee) and lock forward Paul Gallen (shoulder) are unlikely to train until later this week, with coach Craig Bellamy giving Gallen until Friday to prove his fitness for the series opener at Etihad Stadium next Wednesday.

Debutant forward Glenn Stewart faces an NRL Judiciary hearing for a dangerous throw charge on Wednesday night and Bellamy "isn't overly confident" about his chances which could force another change to the Blues.

Boasting a team of eight rookies and just three players from last year's game-three defeat, Bellamy needs every day he can get to mould 17 players from 12 different NRL teams into one unit.

"They've won the last three series and they're a very settled team for the last three years," said Bellamy.

"They're a wonderful footy team and they certainly deserve to be favourites."

Rookie forward Ben Creagh insists it won't be a problem getting the debutants ready for Origin football as they want to prove themselves at the highest standard and won't be burdened by Queensland's three straight series wins.

"(Baggage) does exist but I think it helps that a few of us have never played Origin before," said Creagh.

"I'm sure the guys who have been picked like myself are not going to let anyone down and that is the most important thing.

"The guys who are picked in this team are not guys who are going to shy away from anything.

"Everyone here wants to win matches. We're not going out there to lose and not going out there to muck around. We've been given this opportunity and I'm sure everyone is going to make the most of it."

Creagh is one of three St George Illawarra forwards in the side, with props Michael Weyman and Justin Poore to come off the bench.

Poore said the rookies don't feel they're coming into a team under immense pressure regardless of the past three years' results.

"I don't think there's too much pressure on us. I know the fans want to see us win, but it is a new team and a new year and anything can happen," said Poore.

"This is the pinnacle of rugby league, this is what every player strives for and to get a chance to have a crack against a Queensland side is a dream come true.

"These moments don't come along very often so you have to grab them and take them and don't let go."

All three credited new Dragons coach Wayne Bennett for helping them gain NSW debuts.

"Wayne's had a big influence but obviously doesn't like us talking about him," said Poore.

"I think our selection has got a lot to do with the Dragons team as a core unit ... if it wasn't for them, I wouldn't be here."

Weyman makes his Origin debut in his first season at the Dragons after several years at Canberra tainted by injury and suspension.

The 24-year-old has a reputation for being a tough and sometimes volatile prop, but has vowed not to rely on his image in the Origin spotlight.

"I don't think reputations get you too far in Origin," he said.

"I have to do it now."

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