2011 State of Origin Game 1 Teams Announced

May 17th, 2011

With the countdown on until the 2011 State of Origin series kicks off at Suncorp Stadium Wednesday week, both the defending Origin champs the Queensland Maroons and the underdog New South Wales Blues have named their squads for game one.

Blues’ selectors announced their State of Origin I team on Sunday, with a number of controversial changes from last year’s squad made by coach Ricky Stewart in the hopes of giving the Cockroaches a much needed boost ahead of the state v state battle.

The biggest shake-up to the New South squad was the omission of Eels player Jarryd Hayne from the line-up, Stuart naming Canberra Raider’s gun fullback Josh Dugan to wear the Blues No. 1 jersey.

Queensland are the odds-on favourites at Luxbet to win an unprecedented sixth straight State of Origin series this year

Dugan is one of five players named in the original 17-man Blues’ battalion to make their State of Origin debut this year along with the Knight’s winger Akuila Uate (No. 5), Dragons star kicker Jamie Soward (No. 6) and interchange players Trent Merrin (No. 15) and Dean Young (No. 17).

The newly-named Blues team has done little to help them in the online State of Origin betting markets, with Luxbet paying $2.85 for a New South Wales’ upset in the first game of the series.

The mighty Maroons hold the dominant upper hand heading into this year’s State of Origin clash, the Canetoads having secured a record five consecutive series from 2006 to 2010.

They are the odds-on favourites to do so again, starting with the $1.42 price on Queensland to kick-start the series with a win Wednesday week through Luxbet.

Queensland are slightly shorter again to win the overall series at $1.38 with the Blues at $3.05 at Luxbet.

Two Origin debutants were named on Tuesday to step out for Queensland at home in Origin game one, with the flying Bronco’s runner Jharal Yow Yeh (No. 5) on the wing and centre Dane Nielsen (No.3).

Nielson from the Melbourne Storms was the surprise selection to fill the spot of the injured Greg Inglis.

It’s been a bumper NRL season so far for the young Yow Yeh, who only weeks ago stepped out for his Australian Test debut with the Kangaroos.

Two notable players back in the Origin arena are Mark Gasnier for the Blues and Corey Parker for the Maroons.

After an overseas stint playing Rugby Union, Gasnier returned to the Dragons last year just in time to see St George Illawarra storm to the top of the ladder and then take out the 2010 NRL Telstra Premiership.

This year is the first since 2008 that Gasnier will don a Blues jersey and experts are tipping that the star playmaker will inject plenty of energy to the New South Wales team.

Meanwhile, Broncos veteran Corey Parker is back in the honoured Maroons colours for the first time since 2005.

Gasnier is one of seven Dragon’s players named for the Blues outfit in Game I, which will force Bennett’s $3 premiership favourites at Luxbet to dig deep through the rep season.

The same will go for the Broncos, who after a scintillating start to the year are now looking down the barrel of three straight losses and with five of the Brisbane boys set to play in Origin, it could be a tough few weeks for the sunshine state stars.

There was to be six from Brisbane wearing the Maroon jerseys, but last Friday night Justin Hodges suffered a hamstring tear in the Broncos nasty loss to the Panthers and has been ruled out of Origin Game I contention.

After previously having been over-looked by Blues coach Stuart, late mail news is that Bulldog’s young gun Jamal Idris has been named the 18th man for the New South Wales Origin I pack while the duty of the 18th man for the Maroons falls to Dave Taylor.

Looking over the squads for the opening Origin showdown, the Maroons boast a brigade full of experience.

For New South Wales, the best-tried Origin player in Game 1 will be the resuming Gasnier on nine Origin appearances to date followed by the gallant captain Paul Gallen on eight.

Meanwhile Maroon’s legend Darren Lockyer, retiring at the end of the season, has an incredible 34 Origin games to his name while big Petero Civoniceva has made 26 appearances followed by hooker Cameron Smith (20), half-back Jonathan Thurston (15), No. 1 Billy Slater (4) and second-rower Nate Myles (10).

Now is the best time to get in on the State of Origin Betting action at the hottest prices in the early markets by heading over to leading online sports and racing bookmaker Luxbet.

2011 State Of Origin Game 1 – XXXX QLD Maroons Team

No.    Player (NRL Team)

1.     Billy Slater (Storm)
2.     Darius Boyd (Dragons)
3.     Dane Nielsen (Storm)
4.     Willie Tonga (Cowboys)
5.     Jharal Yow Yeh (Broncos)
6.     Darren Lockyer (c) (Broncos)
7.     Johnathan Thurston (Cowboys)
8.     Matthew Scott (Cowboys)
9.     Cameron Smith (Storm)
10.     Petero Civoniceva (Panthers)
11.     Nate Myles (Roosters)
12.     Sam Thaiday (Broncos)
13.     Ashley Harrison (Titans)
Interchange
14.     Cooper Cronk (Storm)
15.     Corey Parker (Broncos)
16.     Jacob Lillyman (Warriors)
17.     Ben Hannant (Broncos)
18th Man
18.    David Taylor (Rabbitohs)

2011 State Of Origin Game 1 – VB NSW Blues Team

No.    Player (NRL Team)

1.     Josh Dugan (Raiders)
2.    Brett Morris (Dragons)
3.    Michael Jennings (Panthers)
4.    Mark Gasnier (Dragons)
5.    Akuila Uate (Knights)
6.    Jamie Soward (Dragons)
7.    Mitchell Pearce (Roosters)
8.    Jason King (Sea Eagles)
9.    Michael Ennis (Bulldogs)
10.    Kade SNowden (Sharks)
11.    Beau Scott (Dragons)
12.    Greg Bird (Titans)
13.    Paul Gallen (Sharks)
Interchange
14.    Ben Creagh (Dragons)
15.    Trent Merrin (Dragons)
16.    Tim Mannah (Eels)
17.    Dean Young (Dragons)
18th Man
18.    Jamal Idris (Bulldogs)