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Both Queensland and NSW have taken a cautious approach to the Origin decider at Brisbane’s Suncorp Stadium, naming extended squads with a handful of changes, forced by either injury or poor form.
For Queensland’s 20-man squad, Gold Coast Titan Ashley Harrison is out with a broken toe while North QLD’s Matt Bowen, Melbourne’s Dane Nielsen and Brisbane’s Ben Te’o and Sam Thaiday are in, with Canterbury’s Ben Barba omitted. New Zealand-born Te’o will make his Origin debut if selected in the starting XVII, the second Kiwi – along with James Tamou – to debut this series. There are injury concerns over Billy Slater (knee), Justin Hodges (ribs) and Thaiday (shoulder) as well as doubt over Matt Scott due to family reasons. The biggest concern is over Slater (who injured his knee in Origin II), with either Bowen or Greg Inglis to cover for the champion fullback. As well as the chance to secure their seventh straight series win infront of a parochial home crowd, Queensland can also give legendary prop Petero Civoniceva a winning Origin farewell.
NSW have named a 19-man squad in an effort to win their first Origin series since 2005 (in a good omen for the Blues, their 2005 series victory was secured at Suncorp Stadium). St. George-Ilawarra’s Brett Morris has been reunited with brother Josh (Canterbury) at the expense of Newcastle’s Akuila Uate. Manly’s Tony Williams – who is making a comebackafter being injured in Origin I – and Dragon Beau Scott – have also been named. Manly’s Glenn Stewart was retained despite carrying a partial tear of the medial ligament.
Players List
QLD Maroons:
Matt Bowen (North QLD), Darius Boyd (Newcastle), Petero Civoniceva (Brisbane), Cooper Cronk (Melbourne), Matt Gillett (Brisbane), Ben Hannant (Brisbane), Justin Hodges (Brisbane), Greg Inglis (South Sydney), Nate Myles (Gold Coast), Dane Nielsen (Melbourne), Corey Parker (Brisbane), Matt Scott (North QLD), David Shillington (Canberra), Billy Slater (Melbourne), Cameron Smith (c – Melbourne), Brent Tate (North QLD), David Taylor (South Sydney), Ben Te’o (Brisbane)*, Sam Thaiday (Brisbane), Johnathan Thurston (North QLD). COACH: Mal Meninga
NSW Blues:
Greg Bird (Gold Coast), Todd Carney (Cronulla-Sutherland), Ben Creagh (St. George-Illawarra), Robbie Farah (Wests Tigers), Paul Gallen (c – Cronulla-Sutherland), Tim Grant (Penrith), Jarryd Hayne (Parramatta), Michael Jennings (Penrith), Luke Lewis (Penrith), Trent Merrin (St. George-Illawarra), Brett Morris (St. George-Illawarra), Josh Morris (Canterbury-Bankstown), Mitchell Pearce (Sydney Roosters), Beau Scott (St. George-Illawarra), Brett Stewart (Manly-Warringah), Glenn Stewart (Manly-Warringah), James Tamou (North QLD), Anthony Watmough (Manly-Warringah), Tony Williams (Manly-Warringah). COACH: Ricky Stuart