Barrett called up by Blues for Origin II - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Barrett called up by Blues for Origin II

By Todd Balym 15/06/2009 09:08:00 PM Comments (0)

Veteran Trent Barrett will spearhead the battered baby Blues into the most important State of Origin game in NSW's history as they attempt to prevent a record fourth straight Queensland series win on home soil.

The Cronulla five-eighth has earned a stunning recall to the Origin arena for the first time since the 2005 series and 12 years after making his debut in a sky blue jersey.

He is one of five changes to the NSW side.

The 31-year-old will partner under fire halfback Peter Wallace as the Blues seek a series levelling victory at ANZ Stadium on June 24.

Adding further concern to the Blues task is the fact skipper Kurt Gidley (calf muscle), lock Paul Gallen (shoulder), utility Craig Wing (hamstring) and centres Jamie Lyon (ankle) and Michael Jennings (calf) are all in doubt.

Wallace would have joined five-eighth Terry Campese in getting the sack from the 28-18 Origin I loss if not for the fact coach Craig Bellamy didn't want too many changes to his side.

As it stands, Bellamy has made five changes with Test players Glenn Stewart, Paul Gallen, David Williams and Anthony Watmough joining Barrett as the new additions.

Test prop Luke Bailey (broken arm), backrower Luke Lewis (broken toe) and winger James McManus (Achilles tendon) have been ruled out of the game due to injury while Anthony Laffranchi joined Campese in being axed.

"We want to try to stick with mostly what we had in that first game," said Bellamy.

"We think we had to make some changes to try to improve the team's performance and that's what we've done.

"I thought we had to make a change in the halves and we didn't want to make huge changes by leaving both of them out.

"Peter has played really well for us in the two games he played last year." The return of Barrett is a massive about face by the Blues who had adopted a youth policy in Origin I by selecting eight debutants.

Bellamy said Barrett's experience of seven Origins was why he had been recalled to the representative side despite being left out of the initial 40-man squad.

"It certainly gives us a bit more experience in the halves," said Bellamy.

"We thought Trent was the best option there.

"He is 31 years-old, he has had plenty of experience and hopefully he will add a bit of experience in that position."

"The side we picked in the first game was all about game one. There might have been a little eye on the future but at the end of the day we're not picking a team for three years time, we're trying to win the game."

But Bellamy's 17-man side is almost certain to change with the players under injury clouds.

Gidley, Lyon and Jennings failed to play for their NRL sides over the weekend while Wing sustained his hamstring strain in South Sydney's loss to Melbourne on Saturday.

Bellamy will give the injured quartet until Friday to prove their fitness, but has drafted Canberra's Tom Learoyd-Lahrs, Joel Monaghan and Bulldogs centre Josh Morris into the camp as possible replacements.

"We will check them in the morning and see where we think they're at," said Bellamy.

"We will need them training by Thursday or Friday. If they can't it's going to be really tough.

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