Origin Spots On The Line At Coffs Harbour

Source: Gregg Porteous/foxsports.com.au
City held on for a 22-22 victory last year. Source: Gregg Porteous/foxsports.com.au
Last 5 Meetings

2012 – City 24 d Country 22 at Mudgee
2011 – Country 18 d City 12 at Albury
2010 – Country 36 d City 18 at Port Macquarie
2009 – City 40 d Country 18 at Orange
2008 – Country 22 drew with City 22 at WIN Stadium

A host of State of Origin hopefuls will press their claims for a New South Wales jersey when Country Origin  takes on City Origin  in the Blues annual ‘trial’ match at Coffs Harbour on Sunday afternoon. City were 24-22 victors twelve months ago but have been struck by the withdrawal of several key players for this year’s clash.

Jarryd Hayne, Chris Lawrence, Josh Reynolds, Robbie Farah and Aaron Woods have all been pulled by the squad due to ‘injury’, giving the likes of young Tigers duo James Tedesco and Curtis Sironen an early taste of rep footy. Impressive Rabbitohs youngster Adam Reynolds will try and put pressure on Mitchell Pearce with a good showing at halfback, while a strong forward pack is led by Tim Mannah and Ryan Hoffman.

Country Origin fullback Michael Gordon is likely to play despite injuring his knee at training during the week, while veteran forward Willie Mason will be raring to go after being selected in a rep team for the first time since 2010. There will be plenty of focus on Roosters pivot James Maloney, who can go a long way to securing a Blues jersey if able to bring his impressive club form to this stage.

1st Tryscorer

In 2012 Akuila Uate  played for Australia in the ANZAC Test and also got a Blues jersey for the first two State of Origin matches, before being dumped for the series decider, and this is his first taste of rep footy since. He has already bagged seven tries in the NRL this season and will be desperate to get his New South Wales jersey back with a strong showing here.

Rabbitohs flyer Nathan Merritt  will be equally as desperate to perform as he puts his hand up for an ‘Origin’ debut in June. He leads the tryscoring charts this season and would give the New South Wales selectors no choice but to pick him if able to replicate his club form at rep level.

Prediction – City has traditionally dominated these matches but Country has slowly been balancing the ledger in the past 20 years and they can score another win in 2013. The Country squad has better balance, has better players in key positions and should be too good for the ‘City Slickers’. Country Origin 13+

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