Shillington out, Snowden gets Blues debut - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Shillington out, Snowden gets Blues debut

02/05/2011 05:44:26 PM Comments (0)

Getting a last minute Australian Rugby League team call-up was a rush for Test rookie Kade Snowden.

But the Cronulla prop reckoned an unexpected chance to learn from master front rower Petero Civoniceva in one of his final Tests would be hard to beat.

In a whirlwind day, Snowden had breakfast in Sydney with the NSW Country side before sitting down for dinner with idol Civoniceva in Australia's Gold Coast camp.

Instead of running out against City in Albury, Snowden will make his Test debut on Friday night against New Zealand at Skilled Park after the injury withdrawal of Canberra prop David Shillington (pectoral).

It marked the biggest day of his career since his 2005 first-grade debut and sole NSW Origin run in 2010 - yet Snowden's thoughts quickly turned to another.

"Petero is one of the best forwards ever," Snowden said of the Penrith captain.

"I will try to learn as much as I can off him because I don't know how many times I will play with him.

"I will just watch and learn."

Snowden, 24, would have been forgiven for thinking his chance to learn from the master was lost after Civoniceva's noble gesture last year.

The veteran of 44 Tests - a record for a forward - looked to have played his final game for Australia when he sensationally withdrew from the 2010 Four Nations final.

Uncomfortable with his form and having been selected on the bench, Civoniceva asked coach Tim Sheens to drop him and give a young forward a chance.

The prop who partnered Shillington in that Test, Matt Scott, couldn't hide his excitement on Monday about getting the chance to pack down with the rejuvenated Civoniceva.

"It was pretty incredible," Scott said, recalling Civoniceva's team address months ago.

"He just thought it was best for the team, he obviously wasn't feeling the best himself.

"To step away from a Test like that for the good of the side just shows what good a bloke he is."

All that aside, Snowden was just happy to be in green and gold.

"I didn't think I was any chance this year, maybe next year if I kept playing good footy," Snowden said.

"I was at breakfast with the Country side (in Sydney) and they all started shaking my hand.

"I didn't know what was going on.

"Then (Country coach) Laurie (Daley) said 'pack your bags, you have to go up to the Gold Coast' - I said 'sweet as'."

The rushed call-up was evident at the Australian team photo shoot.

Snowden went straight from the airport to the stadium and was thrown an ill-fitting jersey.

Not that he was complaining: "I will wear this to bed every night," he laughed.

"But hopefully they do give me one that fits properly by Friday."

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