On the day that my father turns 70, I can only (once again) marvel at how the New South Wales league selectors can hand Queensland a massive advantage before a ball is kicked in anger in the State of Origin series, simply by making baffling decisions at the selection table.
Of course, this is only my view here, but it seems to be one generally regarded as correct to all of the fellow NSW supporters I have spoken to and communicated with via Facebook and forums.
I simply cannot believe that we have to pick a guy from reserve grade, as they have done with Michael Jennings. Here they have tried to show some loyalty to an out-of-form player (as they have also done with Jarryd Hayne), but surely you do not pick someone who isn't even chosen in the top Grade by their own club. Ridiculous. In doing so, they have left out Brett Morris, whose form surely was deserving of a place on the wing. A case of not being forgiven for his mistake last year that allowed a Queensland try that changed the course of the match? No loyalty.
Anthony Watmough has been excluded, even though he was one of our best impact players last season, and yet Ben Creagh and Trent Merrin have been chosen AGAIN, despite Merrin showing little at State or club level, and Creagh still trying to live down the 'dog' tag he picked up a couple of years ago when faced with stand up fight with Justin Hodges. Divided loyalty.
Jamie Buhrer from Manly will debut, but does he deserves his spot more than Leoroyd-Lahrs or Tariq Sims? It seems unlikely. Robbie Farah comes in for Michael Ennis - perhaps they've decided that Ennis has had his chance.
This team reeks of missed opportunities to me, but why should that be surprising. NSW cannot seem to break the domination of the northern state, and I seriously wonder whether this chosen team will do any better.
The team announced is:
Greg Bird, Jamie Buhrer, Todd Carney, Ben Creagh, Robbie Farah, Paul
Gallen (capt), Jarryd Hayne, Michael Jennings, Luke Lewis, Trent Merrin,
Josh Morris, Mitchell Pearce, Brett Stewart, Glenn Stewart, James
Tamou, Tony Williams, Akuila Uate.