Queensland reaction to NSW mixed - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Queensland reaction to NSW mixed

By Wayne Heming 29/06/2010 07:14:48 PM Comments (0)

Bewilderment, caution and respect - Queensland had mixed emotions over a NSW side featuring eight changes and four rookies for next Wednesday night's State of Origin showdown in Sydney.

Queensland made just one change by bringing 26-game warhorse Petero Civoniceva back into the front row at the expense of Ben Hannant on Tuesday.

But NSW took their tally of players used for the series to 30 after approving a swag of changes in a desperate bid to avoid their first series clean sweep since 1995.

Queensland's depth was highlighted with Test prop Hannant dropped and game two player's player, Dave Shillington, relegated from starter to the bench to accommodate Civoniceva.

"Ben's been a fantastic player for us in the past and he's just been a victim of circumstance," said Queensland coach Mal Meninga who delivered the news to a disappointed Hannant on Monday night.

"They (NSW) have picked a very formidable side with a lot of pace out wide and some debutants who will try and make their mark on Origin."

Queensland hooker Cameron Smith however was very surprised by some of the Blues' selections and the fact they made so many changes.

"To make so many changes... I don't understand why they keep making so many changes," he told AAP.

"It's confusing how they just keep chopping and changing, particularly the forwards.

"They've got two new starting props who haven't played Origin before.

"I heard (NSW selector) Laurie Daley talking about putting Trent Barrett with (halfback) Mitchell Pearce because he was a young bloke who needed an older bloke out there with him.

"But I'm pretty sure Trent Barrett has indicated he's not playing (representative football) next year, so why wouldn't you throw Jamie Soward in and see how he goes?

"It's a good chance to see if he can play State of Origin or not."

Civoniceva however put in a good word for rookie front-rowers Jason King (Manly) and Kade Snowden (Cronulla) who face the tough challenge of stopping Queensland's go forward.

"There's a lot of toughness there," said Civoniceva, making it clear he planned to go around for Queensland again in 2011.

"Kate Snowden's a young bloke but he doesn't take a backward step.

"The same can be said about Kingy as well. He's been in around that NSW set-up for a while now.

"He'll be excited at getting an opportunity at this level."

While it was almost 10 years ago, Civoniceva still remembers the emotions swirling around when making his Origin debut.

"You just want to prove to everyone you're ready to handle it," said the 34-year-old Panthers skipper who broke his hand on Origin I in Sydney last month.

"I know that was the case for me. Reputations go out the window and you just want to throw your body into anything in an opposition jersey.

"That's definitely how they'll play and knowing how they play, we're definitely in for a very tough, physical battle down that middle third."

Queensland captain Darren Lockyer questioned whether NSW coach Craig Bellamy had enough time to get so many new players to gel in just a week.

"If they stick with that team it will probably be a few games before they reach their peak," he said.

"We (Queensland) have been fortunate to keep the group together but we have to be very careful not to be complacent at the same time."

Lockyer said while he didn't want to give NSW any free tips, he believed they had to "stick" with a team for more than one game.

Bookmakers Sportingbet Australia on Tuesday quoted Queensland at $1.57 and NSW outsider at $2.40.

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