Kangaroos decked out in Maroon - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Kangaroos decked out in Maroon

By Steve Jancetic 01/05/2011 08:13:58 PM Comments (0)

Queensland's unprecedented State of Origin dominance has translated into Test side dominance with uncapped Brisbane flyer Jharal Yow Yeh part of a record-breaking Maroon contingent to take on New Zealand on Friday night.

Yow Yeh, yet to play Origin football and with just 41 NRL games to his name, was one of 13 Queenslanders in the 17-man squad, eclipsing the previous mark of 12 set twice in 1998.

The ten Maroons named in the starting line-up matched a mark reached on six occasions - including three times during the 2011 Four Nations campaign - coach Tim Sheens admitting he would rely heavily on combinations as he attempts to exact revenge for the loss in last year's tournament final.

"In a two- or three-day preparation combinations are very, very important," said Sheens who claimed Yow Yeh's NRL partnership with Justin Hodges and Darren Lockyer had worked in his favour.

"But you've got to look at form too - the players play in teams that are in form also in most positions.

"(Yow Yeh's) been playing well, the Brisbane edge will stay together then."

While Yow Yeh's elevation may have shocked some, with Sheens admitting St George Illawarra fullback Darius Boyd - another Queenslander - would have had the spot had he not been injured, it had nothing on Jamal Idris's call-up to the bench.

Considered an outside chance of making the NSW Origin team, Idris leapfrogged the likes of Greg Bird and Anthony Watmough, Sheens claiming he would likely see most of his time in the backrow - a position he has only had limited exposure in at club level.

"Jamal gives us an option to play second row and centre - last year in the final we lost our centre and then we lost our second rower in Luke Lewis who could play centre and we were in all sorts," Sheens said.

"We wanted to cover backrow, front row and outside backs and then in the point of view of 7,6 and 9, Cooper (Cronk) covers that pretty well."

Cronk - who was the halfback in the Four Nations - secured a bench spot thanks to Kurt Gidley's untimely shoulder injury.

Veteran Petero Civoniceva - who dropped himself for last year's Four Nations claiming he was not playing up to the standard of a Test player - won a recall, and will partner Matt Scott in the engine room.

"He's playing solid, he's been in my squad for two years and he's a good forward leader," Sheens said.

"I don't think he's played that bad and nor for that matter has anyone outplayed him.

"It's a chance for Petero to re-establish himself there."

Civoniceva's recall paled into significance to that of Ben Creagh, the Dragons backrower to play his second Test - six years after his first.

"It's a massive time between drinks and next Friday night I've got to make the most of my opportunity and play well," Creagh said.

"I've made rep footy a priority in my goals the past few years and it hasn't really worked for me, I just set my goal playing well every week for the Dragons, try and do my best.

"I was expecting hopefully to go to Albury this week and play in the Country side against City, so it was very unexpected."

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