26 May 2009

8 newcomers in Blues State of Origin team

2:59 pm on 26 May 2009

Canberra league star Terry Campese has won the hotly-contested race for the NSW five-eighth jersey to become one of eight debutants named to face Queensland in next week's State of Origin series opener in Melbourne.

Campese will partner Brisbane's Peter Wallace in the halves in a fresh-looking Blues side, which is out to stop the Maroons claiming an unprecedented fourth straight series win.

The 24-year-old beat Newcastle's Jarrod Mullen and Penrith's Luke Lewis to the number 6 jersey.

Among the other debutants are Penrith flyer Michael Jennings, Newcastle winger James McManus, Wests Tigers hooker Robbie Farah and St George Illawarra trio Ben Creagh, Justin Poore and Michael Weyman.

Blues coach Craig Bellamy says it's time to take risks with team selection if NSW is to end the Maroons' recent dominance.

Test forwards Anthony Laffranchi and Anthony Watmough, who played in Australia's win over New Zealand this month, are amoung the omissions.

Newcastle star Kurt Gidley will captain the side at fullback as part of an exciting backline that also includes Manly's Jamie Lyon and in-form Parramatta star Jarryd Hayne.