Monaghan replaces Jennings for Blues - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Monaghan replaces Jennings for Blues

18/06/2009 07:56:01 PM Comments (0)

NSW centre Joel Monaghan has two disappointed parents and a shattered best mate as reasons why he needs to star in next week's State of Origin II clash at ANZ Stadium.

Added to the Blues side on Thursday after Penrith flyer Michael Jennings was ruled out with a calf strain, Monaghan is set to play just his second Origin game after last year's debut in the decider.

And for the second year in a row, his parents will be overseas visiting older brother Michael when Joel pulls on the sky blue jersey.

Mary and Stewart Monaghan will have to search for somewhere in Rome to watch the game, but will be home for game three on July 15 meaning Monaghan has extra motivation to retain his position in the side.

However, after seeing best mate Canberra five-eighth Terry Campese dumped after a tough 80 minute debut in Origin I, Monaghan knows he needs to fire or make way for the conga line of exciting outside backs in the NSW ranks.

"You don't know when your next chance is going to be so you have to make the most of it," said Monaghan.

"Campo played one game so all you want to do is go out there, play your best, hopefully get the win and then fingers crossed for the next game.

"There's plenty of young outside backs at the moment for NSW."

Making Monaghan's recall all the more important is the fact his debut jersey was stolen last year.

He had already donated one of his two jerseys to a kid who had been hit by a car, and gave the other to his parents after they had missed his game while in England.

However the jersey he wore was stolen from his parent's clothesline after his mum had washed the blood off it so they could hang proudly in their Canberra home.

"I think dad was more upset," said Monaghan.

"They were obviously very proud (I'd play in Origin II) but disappointed to be missing it again. It's life I guess.

"They had (the holiday) booked to leave after the first (Origin) so all their eggs were in the basket that I was going to play in the first one and it didn't work out.

"I have seven brothers and sisters so my family will be well represented at the game."

Monaghan won the fight to replace Jennings from Bulldogs centre Josh Morris, who on Thursday left camp with Canberra's Tom Learoyd-Lahrs to rejoin their NRL sides.

Centre Jamie Lyon (ankle) and lock Paul Gallen (bruised shoulder) are certain starters next week after initial injury concerns, however doubt remains over hooker Robbie Farah (ribs) and utility Craig Wing (hamstring).

Farah and Wing must prove their fitness on Friday or join Jennings in being ruled out.

"I feel shattered, disappointed," said Jennings.

"I would have loved to have been out there playing in game two but it's just the way it is I guess.

"The physio, the doc and Bellyache (Blues coach Craig Bellamy) just didn't think it was ready. I'd rather it be 100 per cent than play anyway."

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