NSW team for State of Origin III - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

NSW team for State of Origin III

By David Beniuk 28/06/2010 09:21:32 PM Comments (0)

Desperate NSW selectors have named three debutant front-rowers in a Blues side which will seek to deny Queensland a clean sweep of the State of Origin series next month.

Manly co-captain Jason King, Cronulla's Kade Snowden and Parramatta's Tim Mannah, who was named on the bench, will be asked to provide go-forward for the Blues with Michael Weyman unavailable through suspension and Brett White dropped.

They will join Penrith winger Michael Gordon, who edged South Sydney's Nathan Merritt, in playing their first Origin game in the ANZ Stadium dead rubber on July 7, among eight changes to the side humiliated 34-6 by the Maroons at Suncorp Stadium.

"It's a very young front row rotation," coach Craig Bellamy said.

"We think that's the right way to go for this game, to put some young guys in and give them a chance at this level.

"It's an area that we probably haven't been that good at in the first two games."

Goalkicking maestro Gordon will be joined by Panthers team-mate Michael Jennings, whose electrifying performances at club level have finally earned him a recall after two games in 2009.

Gold Coast five-eighth Greg Bird will play his first Origin game since 2008 after being named at lock, while game one forwards Luke Lewis (suspension) and Anthony Watmough (groin) also return.

As expected, five-eighth Trent Barrett assumes the captaincy with Kurt Gidley again named on the bench.

Bellamy is unlikely to be at the helm of the Blues after three series losses, but he conceded the selectors were looking beyond 10 days' time.

"There could have been one eye or half an eye on the future because of a few of the younger blokes that we've put in and you do that sometimes when the series is over," he said.

"But we've got another game to play and it's an Origin game so it's important and we certainly just haven't been giving out jumpers here.

"We think this team can be really competitive."

Gone are Weyman, White, centre Matt Cooper (hamstring), forward Luke O'Donnell (suspension), winger Joel Monaghan and back-rowers Ben Creagh, Trent Waterhouse and Nathan Hindmarsh.

Timana Tahu, who walked out of the Blues camp in protest at a racial slur by then assistant coach Andrew Johns, is also unavailable due to suspension.

Bellamy said he had targeted areas for the side to improve on.

"Certainly we'll be looking to change our attack a little bit and looking to be a little more consistent with our edge defence," he said.

Asked if the side was mentally tough enough to overcome one of the great Queensland teams, he pointed to his backrowers - Paul Gallen, Lewis, Bird and Watmough.

"They're all proven Origin players," he said.

"We've certainly got some guys in there that we know are mentally tough and we'll find out about the other guys on Wednesday week."

NSW: Jarryd Hayne, Brett Morris, Michael Jennings, Beau Scott, Michael Gordon, Trent Barrett (capt), Mitchell Pearce, Jason King, Michael Ennis, Kade Snowden, Luke Lewis, Paul Gallen, Greg Bird. Interchange: Kurt Gidley, Tom Learoyd-Lahrs, Tim Mannah, Anthony Watmough.

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