Stuart to roll the dice again for NSW - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Stuart to roll the dice again for NSW

Ian McCullough 25/06/2011 04:47:46 PM Comments (0)

Ricky Stuart's gamble with selection worked wonders for NSW in State of Origin II and the Blues coach is set for another on Sunday by naming Jarryd Hayne in the centres for the July 6 decider in Brisbane.

Hayne, who was omitted from the series opener, returned on the wing for the 18-8 win in Sydney earlier this month but, with young gun Will Hopoate sidelined with a hamstring problem, Stuart is eyeing the Parramatta fullback as his replacement.

Hayne was on fire against Manly in the Eels' narrow defeat to the high-flying Sea Eagles last Monday, setting up two tries with breathtaking cut-out passes, and NSW assistant coach Trent Barrett believes the 23-year-old can make the transition.

"Hayne is a freak and would handle this easily," Barrett wrote on NRL.com.

"The more ball in Hayne's hands the better,and this is something Queensland wouldn't want.

"He is a brilliant player who had a great game against Manly on Monday night."

Hayne moving into the No.4 shirt would mean St George Illawarra winger Brett Morris returning to the left wing he occupied in Origin One after recovering from a hamstring injury.

The enforced switch may not be the only change, with young Dragons bookend Trent Merrin coming under pressure from Kade Snowden.

Snowden disappointed in the opening game and was left out of the Sydney encounter, the Cronulla prop struggling with a neck problem.

However, after being told the issue cannot get any worse by doctors, Snowden had a huge game against Canterbury last Sunday, running for over 200 metres with the ball, and insists he's fit enough to return.

"I would love to be a part of it (Origin). Every player would want to play in that game. To play up there, for the series, well that would be awesome," Snowden said earlier this week.

"I will leave it up to Ricky and the selectors but my neck didn't bother me at all on Sunday and I am very happy with it."

Stuart, who signed Snowden for the Sharks, isa huge fan of the 24-year-old and could be tempted to recall him after Merrin failed to fire from the bench in Sydney, missing a vital tackle that led to Cameron Smith scoring from close range.

Stuart will name his 17-man squad in Sydney on Sunday evening ahead of the most eagerly-awaited Origin clash for years.

It is the first time since 2008 that the third match will not be a dead rubber and it has the added spice of being Darren Lockyer's record 35th and final game in a Maroons jersey.

It will cap a glittering Origin career for the Brisbane and Australia captain who will retire at the end of the season.

Despite the pressure on NSW to prevent an unprecedented sixth straight series defeat, Blues hooker Michael Ennis said he cannot wait.

"It's bloody enjoyable - I love every minute of it," Ennis said.

"I thought we really prepared well last time we went there, obviously it's going to be pretty hostile up there - Locky's farewell home game back on their home ground.

"But I can't tell you how exciting and how good it feels to be a part of NSW at the moment."

Probable NSW team: Anthony Minichiello, Brett Morris, Mark Gasnier, Jarryd Hayne, Akuila Uate, Jamie Soward, Mitchell Pearce, Paul Gallen (capt), Michael Ennis, Kade Snowden, Ben Creagh, Beau Scott, Greg Bird. Interchange: Luke Lewis, Tim Mannah, Anthony Watmough, Kurt Gidley.

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