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Stuart happy with Watmough Origin decision

NSW coach Ricky Stuart says Anthony Watmough's shoulder injury was a factor in his decision not to select him for State of Origin, but not the only reason for leaving him out of his side.
Stuart happy with Watmough Origin decision
by NRL

By Ian McCullough and Steve Jancetic

SYDNEY, May 15 AAP - NSW coach Ricky Stuart says Anthony Watmough's shoulder injury was a factor in his decision not to select him for State of Origin, but not the only reason for leaving him out of his side.

Despite being a regular member of the Australian Test team and an impressive performer in last year's series, the Manly back-rower was a surprise omission from the Blues side that will take on Queensland in Melbourne next week.

Stuart opted for St George Illawarra's Ben Creagh ahead of Watmough after claiming he wouldn't be able to train due to the injury he sustained against Brisbane last Friday.

"When I spoke to Anthony on Sunday afternoon, before we named the team, he indicated he wouldn't be able to train until Friday," Stuart told AAP.

"The injury was a factor, but it wasn't the only reason he wasn't picked."

Stuart opted for Creagh, who is a bigger man, to fill the bench role because he felt it suited the team's needs better, as they look to end a run of six successive series wins by Queensland by getting off to a positive start at Etihad Stadium.

The decision bemused Manly coach and former Blues' star Geoff Toovey.

"I've had a chat to 'Choc' and he's disappointed and we're all a bit disappointed for him," Toovey said.

"I thought he was one of their best players last year, especially in the last game, but we are grateful that he's here with Manly."

Watmough appeared to make a point of running past the gathered media pack to show his fitness as he joined his teammates on the field at the Sea Eagles' training ground in Narrabeen on Tuesday.

And although Toovey admitted he didn't expect to see him out on the paddock so soon, he was not surprised.

"I didn't think Choc would be training today, but he's a great athlete and we have great medical staff," he said.

"He's out there and, although it's restricted training due to the injury, we're very confident he'll be playing on Sunday against the Roosters." Manly co-skipper Jason King, who played for NSW in Origin I last year, was also bemused at the decision to leave Watmough out of the Blues team.

"He's been playing some tremendous footy for us," King said.

"He does plenty of work up the middle and is an 80-minute player and provides plenty of impact.

"But no doubt the selectors have their own ideas and have gone for a different approach."

"But I am certain it won't be the last you see Choc in a Blues jersey."




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