NSW name Williams and Stewart for decider
Mon, 25 Jun 2012 3:28a.m.
NSW coach Ricky Stuart may keep Queensland guessing right up to State of Origin III kick-off after naming Manly duo Glenn Stewart and Tony Williams in a 19-man squad for the series decider.
In an early start to the mind games ahead of the blockbuster Suncorp Stadium match-up on Wednesday week, Stuart named Stewart despite the Sea Eagles back-rower being diagnosed with a partial tear of the medial ligament less than a week ago.
Williams confirmed his recall with a barnstorming return in Sunday’s 52-14 demolition of the Sydney Roosters, while Beau Scott was also named to add to the cloak and daggers approach.
The only confirmed change to the side which levelled the series with the game two win in Sydney was the dumping of winger Akuila Uate for St George Illawarra flyer Brett Morris - who will line up alongside twin brother Josh for the first time in sky blue on NSW's right edge.
But the make-up of the back-row and bench may not be determined - at least publicly - until game day.
"He's coming out of the brace and I think he deserves every opportunity to make himself available," Stuart says of Stewart, who was thought to be out for 3-4 weeks.
"He's been a huge part of it, the last two series. I don't want to put a timeframe on it.
"We'll assess it and give him some time over the next two or three days and monitor where he's at."
Any doubts over Williams - who had not played since injuring his back in Origin I - were erased by the time Stuart walked out of Allianz Stadium after 70 minutes of Sunday's game.
The giant back-rower is the x-factor capable of changing the game for the Blues, Williams' impact immediate against the Roosters as he threw away defenders to set up Jorge Taufua's early try before a deft chip kick laid it on a platter for Steve Matai to score.
"He played 80 minutes and his touches were assists for the first two tries," Stuart says.
"He's played himself into the squad today.
"He gives us a different style of football if he is selected."
Added Williams, who appeared in discomfort at stages of his comeback:
"I'm alright, just a bit there in the first half I got twisted, nothing major.
"I was a bit worried about the back but the back was good.
"I was devastated I couldn't play (game two) but I was happy that they got the win and now I have the chance to be a difference."
Stuart agonised over the decision to dump Uate, who was one of NSW's best in last year's losing series.
But he was hopelessly exposed in defence in both games of this year's series, and it was a concern Stuart didn't want a player or the team carrying into what shapes as NSW's biggest game in years.
"He's young, he's had a bit of pressure on him over the last two games," Stuart says.
"He handled it very well, but they're going to keep coming down that edge so I've had to look at it."
NSW squad: Greg Bird, Todd Carney, Ben Creagh, Robbie Farah, Paul Gallen (capt), Tim Grant, Jarryd Hayne, Michael Jennings, Luke Lewis, Trent Merrin, Brett Morris, Josh Morris, Mitchell Pearce, Beau Scott, Brett Stewart, Glenn Stewart, James Tamou, Anthony Watmough, Tony Williams.
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