Maroons Sam Thaiday during the State of Origin game at Suncorp Stadium on Wednesday, June 4, 2012.
Maroons Sam Thaiday during the State of Origin game at Suncorp Stadium on Wednesday, June 4, 2012. Claudia Baxter

Thaiday surprised Grant won't play for NSW in first Origin

MAROONS second-rower Sam Thaiday spoke of his surprise at seeing Panthers prop Tim Grant left out of the New South Wales team named on Sunday night.

Like their Queensland counterparts, the Blues opted for more mobility by naming back-rower Paul Gallen at prop.

Fellow back-rowers Anthony Watmough and Trent Merrin were also named on the bench.

Grant missed out on a second chance yesterday for next Wednesday's game one at ANZ Stadium, after Canterbury's Josh Reynolds and South Sydney's John Sutton were named as the replacements for injured Knights utility Kurt Gidley.

Queensland followed a similar line of thinking with the release of its team on Monday night, with its bench made up entirely of back-rowers, including debutant Chris McQueen.

"Tim Grant gave it to our front row last year, and took it to the likes of the experienced Petero (Civoniceva)," Thaiday said.

"He's a good player and unlucky to miss out, but maybe they'll bring him in at some stage during the series.
"He's a tough bugger - a real old school front-rower."

Meanwhile, the Queensland squad had a fan day in Bundaberg yesterday.

Skipper Cameron Smith said he was looking for success next week to help give some much-needed relief to the community, which suffered so badly in January's floods.

"People spoke to us today about losing houses and businesses but they still had a smile on their face - they are still kicking on," Smith said.

"I thought we definitely put a smile on everyone's faces and hopefully lifted the spirits a bit and there was a lot of excited people around.

"With State Of Origin next week hopefully we get a win to make everyone's week a special week."


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