Smith feels for Maroons teammate Nielsen - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Smith feels for Maroons teammate Nielsen

Melissa Woods 27/06/2011 04:01:02 PM Comments (0)

Queensland hooker Cameron Smith feels for his Melbourne teammate Dane Nielsen, who's likely to bow out of the Maroons with Brisbane gun centre Justin Hodges back on the scene.

Nielsen made his Origin debut in game one this year but despite two strong performances he expects to make way for the return of big game player Hodges for the Suncorp Stadium decider on Wednesday week.

With the team to be named on Tuesday night, Queensland coach Mal Meninga was playing his cards close to his chest after a selection meeting, only saying that he was happy Hodges was available after six weeks on the sidelines with a hamstring injury.

Fellow Maroons Test centre Greg Inglis injured his left shoulder during the second half of Friday night's NRL win over the Broncos, but completed the match. Souths officials said they expected him to be fit for the epic showdown which doubles as skipper Darren Lockyer's swansong from Origin.

While Nielsen was already making plans for where he would watch Origin III, Smith wasn't ready to close the door on a third appearance by his young Melbourne teammate.

"I'm not too sure how Mal's going to go," Smith said.

"Greg's got a couple of concerns with his shoulder and it was Justin Hodges' first game in five or six weeks however those two guys are the best centres in the game when they're fit and playing well."

Smith praised Nielsen's contribution over the split matches in the series.

"If he misses out it's unlucky for him because he's played some great footy for us," Smith said.

"Dane's a very good centre in his own right and I think he's done a great job for Queensland in the two games that he's played."

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