NSW readying itself for Origin war - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

NSW readying itself for Origin war

By Brent Read 10/05/2004 08:40:40 PM Comments (0)

NSW coach Phil Gould raised concerns over Penrith's soft lead-in to the opening State of Origin game as Blues selectors received last-minute permission to name an extra five players.

NSW was planning a 25-man preliminary squad but ARL chief executive Geoff Carr intervened as selectors wrestled with who to leave out.

"I spoke to them," Carr said.

"I said if you're not ready to get it down to 25, don't. It's a preliminary squad. I said go to 30."

That decision opened the door for a handful of surprises with Dragons fullback Ben Hornby leapfrogging City's Brett Hodgson and Country's Luke Patten to become the back-up to Anthony Minichiello.

His teammate Brent Kite also won a place after impressing for Country on Friday night while Newcastle utility Kurt Gidley was named alongside his brother Matthew.

NSW's 11 Australian players, exempted from the City-Country game, were selected along with four players who missed last month's Test through injury - Craig Wing, Craig Fitzgibbon, Ben Kennedy and Jason Ryles.

Cronulla half Brett Kimmorley was included alongside Craig Gower and Gould admitted it was still neck-and-neck between the pair as to who would wear the No.7 jersey in Origin I, to be played at Telstra Stadium on May 26.

"I'm not locked into an opinion myself at the moment," Gould said on radio 2UE.

"I think the two halfbacks are both outstanding choices.

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