Chance for Farah to shine in City-Country - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Chance for Farah to shine in City-Country

By Russell Jackson and Liam FitzGibbon 03/05/2011 06:08:23 PM Comments (0)

Robbie Farah will get every opportunity to steal the show in Friday's City-Country clash in Albury after incumbent NSW hooker Michael Ennis was ruled out due to injury.

The match was robbed of one of its biggest State of Origin selection duels after Ennis was ruled out of the Country side due to rib soreness, with Melbourne Storm utility Ryan Hinchcliffe called in to face City captain and No.9 Farah.

Blues coach Ricky Stuart has promised the match is a genuine trial for Origin spots, with hooker among several positions still up for grabs ahead of the May 16 naming of the team for Origin I.

While it's believed Bulldogs star Ennis will remain the front runner to retain the No.9 jersey, Farah hasn't given up hope of a recall after playing twice for the Blues in 2009.

"I'm ready. I never haven't been ready," Farah said on Tuesday.

"I'd love to play Origin and when you've had a taste of it and you don't get to play in it, it's obviously something that you want to get back.

"That desire has never left me."

"There's a big carrot there being dangled so it's an important game on Friday night.

"Hopefully a good game and a good win for City will lead to not just myself but a few other City guys hearing their name read out when the Origin side is picked."

Farah said Queensland's dominance in recent years meant he was even more hungry to force his way back into the side.

"Every year you're hungry to get in there and with Queensland winning the last five especially, you want to help get that shield back to NSW," Farah said.

"There's a new coach this year and it's going to have an influence on the side being picked and it'd be good to be a part of it."

As well as leaving the door slightly further open for Farah, Ennis' injury will allow Hinchcliffe a first taste of representative football.

Country needed a tough, durable replacement for Ennis and coach Laurie Daley believes he's found one.

"It's great to give Ryan an opportunity to come into the team, he's a very tough player and will be very handy for us," Daley said.

"He can do a similar job that Mick can do for us and I'm looking forward to getting him into camp."

Hinchcliffe, 26, a former Canberra Raider, will commence training with the Country squad in Albury on Wednesday, with City also bound for the southern NSW town.

Daley said it was sad to lose Ennis, a popular player amongst the Country group, but not worth the risk of playing him.

"We'd also be running the risk of him re-injuring it in the game and it's not the best for either him, the team or his club side," Daley said.

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