Players push for Folau in Origin - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Players push for Folau in Origin

By Wayne Heming 07/06/2010 06:55:51 PM Comments (0)

A powerful player push is believed to have saved code defector Israel Folau's State of Origin jumper.

Queensland skipper Darren Lockyer, forward leader Petero Civoniceva and hooker Cameron Smith are understood to have plumped for Folau's selection in a meeting with Maroons coach Mal Meninga on the weekend.

After Folau confirmed a multi-million dollar four-year AFL deal with the new Greater Western Sydney club last week, Lockyer and Civoniceva publicly suggested his Maroon jumper was in jeopardy.

But it's understood the pair and Smith have softened their attitude towards selecting Folau and their backing of the matchwinner has saved his place.

Queensland Rugby League chairman John McDonald and Meninga gave little away about the selection conundrum on Monday.

"The team will be named tomorrow," was all Meninga would offer journalists after emerging from the hour-long meeting at the QRL's Milton headquarters with selector and former Origin great, Gene Miles.

Selectors' chairman Des Morris gave little away before the Origin briefing.

He said he hadn't been directed by the QRL - who through managing director Ross Livermore last week suggested Folau had played his last Origin - on whom to pick.

While the selectors' 17 players have to be ratified by the QRL's board of directors on Tuesday, indications are Folau's name would be beside the No.5 jumper.

"I want to discuss it with the other selectors first to be honest," said Morris.

"There's a few issues but we'll work them out together."

Morris was disappointed by Miles's comments in a Mt Isa newspaper last week that if it was up to him, he'd pick Folau because he was the best player in his position.

"I was a bit disappointed," said Morris, even though Miles made it clear he was speaking for himself, not for the Queensland selection panel.

"Four of us have got to make this decision, not one.

"It's a decision we have to make in there, there's not much point having one or two of us.

"We'll get in there and discuss and work it out from there."

Morris denied any cracks in the selectors' ranks.

"You never agree wholeheartedly on what the side is originally," he said.

"We debate it and everyone gets their point of view across and you come up with the best team we think can do the job for Queensland."

Morris said selectors weren't employees of the QRL.

"We've been asked to do the job of selecting the side, and that's what we will do," he said.

"But every representative side you pick goes to the ARL or QRL to be ratified because there may be other issues."

With fullback Billy Slater escaping the judiciary, the inclusion of Bulldogs prop Ben Hannant for Civoniceva (broken hand) and the return from injury of 19-game hooker Cameron Smith for Matt Ballin are the only changes expected when the 17-man squad is named on Tuesday.

Queensland's likely team is: Billy Slater, Darius Boyd, Greg Inglis, Willie Tonga, Israel Folau, Darren Lockyer (c), Johnathan Thurston, Matthew Scott, Cameron Smith, Ben Hannant, Sam Thaiday, Nate Myles, Ashley Harrison. Interchange: Cooper Cronk, Dave Shillington, Neville Costigan, Dave Taylor. 18th man: Jharal Yow Yeh.

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