Shillo chance to impress for Origin III - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Shillo chance to impress for Origin III

David Beniuk and Matt Sadler 24/06/2011 05:25:02 PM Comments (0)

Canberra prop David Shillington might only be a slight chance of returning to the Queensland State of Origin side, but he'll get a perfect chance to impress on Saturday night when he goes head to head with NSW's Tim Mannah.

Shillington played all three Origin games for the Maroons last season, but his campaign this year was grounded by a pectoral muscle injury.

The Test front-rower made a successful return for the Raiders against Brisbane two weeks ago, and will start in the Canberra Stadium match against Mannah's Parramatta.

Queensland coach Mal Meninga is likely to stick tight with bench forwards Corey Parker, Dave Taylor and Ben Hannant early next week when he names his side.

But Shillington will get no better chance to press his claims than in the match-up with Mannah.

The Parramatta prop is considered a certainty for the Blues, while Raiders' impact man Tom Learoyd-Lahrs will be out to impress NSW coach Ricky Stuart after a barnstorming second-half performance against the Broncos.

"I think for both of them, it's just about getting on the field and playing the type of footy that they're capable of," Raiders' coach David Furner said.

"They have got a big challenge, but it's something that the experience of Shillo would look forward to."

Canberra should be boosted by the return from a groin injury of Country Origin centre Joel Thompson, meaning Blake Ferguson will move back to the wing and James Stuart drop out of the side.

Furner insists there's real optimism in his side, despite being 15th on the ladder and realistically needing to win nine of their last 11 games to make the finals.

That would mean something close to a repeat of the Raiders' run of eight from their last nine regular season games in 2010.

"It's never been mentioned," Furner said of the unlikely equation.

"We've got to put together three or four wins in a row to even get into a position there to fight for it."

The Raiders will be hoping last week's bye won't turn off the momentum they suddenly found in coming back from 24-0 down against the Broncos.

But they are wary of an improving Parramatta, who almost took the points from Manly on Monday night at Brookvale Oval.

"They were unlucky to get beaten," Furner said.

"I think they were the better side on the night. So they'll be coming down here with plenty of energy and confidence."

Eels' coach Stephen Kearney said desperation among the sides outside the top eight is fast becoming a hallmark of the competition.

"I think everyone's playing a little bit like that at the moment, in the position ourselves and Canberra are in, and that's what we're expecting," he said.

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