Civoniceva shocked by Jennings' omission - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Civoniceva shocked by Jennings' omission

By Wayne Heming 18/05/2010 11:49:00 PM Comments (0)

Queensland warrior Petero Civoniceva says he's stunned NSW have left Penrith team-mate Michael Jennings and Cronulla enforcer Paul Gallen out of their squad for next Wednesday night's State of Origin opener in Sydney.

Blues selectors could not find a spot for the electrifying Jennings, opting for proven performer Matt Cooper and a reborn Timana Tahu as their centres against Queensland's Greg Inglis and Willie Tonga.

Civoniceva, who'll suit up for his 26th Origin, said Jennings possessed the best footwork of any player he'd ever seen and that Gallen was made to play Origin.

"I think he (Jennings) provides that X-factor that all teams need," said 34 year-old Civoniceva, who expected Jennings' three-try performance against the Sharks at the weekend would have convinced selectors he was the right man for the job after blooding him in last year's series.

"Being captain of Penrith and having a player like him is a blessing," he said.

"Just like rookie Dave Taylor is our X-factor, Jennings would have been theirs.

"Wether it's out wide or probing in around the middle of the ruck ... he's just got footwork I've never seen before.

"He's an amazing talent. He'd be pretty disappointed.

"He took so much out of playing in Origin last year. He came back to the club a different player and I know he was really looking forward to having another crack at Origin."

Gallen was Civoniceva's teammate in Australia's Anzac Test win over the Kiwis earlier this month but he has been dumped by NSW.

"That's another surprising selection omission," Civoniceva said.

"Again, it's a bit like Michael Jennings. We're probably glad that he isn't there as well.

"He's probably one of the best forwards going around in our game.

"In terms of work rate, I don't think anyone tops him in what he does. He's just got that mongrel in him that you need at that level.

"Whether he gets an opportunity in the next two games ... you would think that this one being so crucial, and wanting to get off to a good start, he would have been a part of it."

Civoniceva said there was no better stage for players like Gallen and Greg Bird to play because both pushed the boundaries which were more tolerant in Origin than they were in the NRL.

"Its about using your emotion to find something within yourself and that's the way he (Gallen) plays," he said.

"He's a very passionate guy."

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