Rep football on centre stage

Tim Mannah
Tim Mannah

THE representative season takes centre stage this week with a stand-alone weekend of representative fixtures.

It begins on Friday night when Australia take on New Zealand in the Anzac rugby league Test in Canberra.

The attention shifts to Penrith on Saturday night with the second Under-20s State of Origin at Centrebet Stadium.

The game will be followed by Samoa facing off against Tonga.

Ben Roberts (Samoa) and Fuifui Moimoi (Tonga) will put club loyalties aside when they line-up on opposite sides of the field.

The weekend rounds out with the best players in NSW vying for Origin selection in the annual City versus Country fixture at Coffs Harbour.

Eels co-captain Tim Mannah (pictured) will be the lone blue and gold representative after Jarryd Hayne withdrew from the clash.

There are sky blue jumpers up for grabs for the opening game on June 5.

The three most contentious positions remain:

1. Halfback:

Injury to Mitchell Pearce has opened the door to Adam Reynolds to stake his claim at the next level.

Pearce and Roosters team-mate James Maloney remain the favourites to wear the No. 6 and No. 7 for game one with Todd Carney still on the sidelines.

2. Fullback:

Like the halfback position, injury has opened the door for Michael Gordon to jump the incumbent No. 1 Brett Stewart for game one. Jarryd Hayne has also been forced to withdraw from the match. Gordon and Hayne are likely of contention for wing spots for NSW.

3. Front row:

It's a feast for NSW selectors in the front row. The plethora of props will allow captain Paul Gallen to revert to the back row leaving Tim Mannah, Aaron Woods, Tim Grant, Willie Mason to fight it out to partner Australian prop James Tamou.

The NRL season will resume on Anzac Day when the Sydney Roosters play St George Illawarra.

This story Rep football on centre stage first appeared on Parramatta Sun.


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