Vodafone Warriors prop Jacob Lillyman has been in vintage form but it hasn't been enough for him to win selection in Queensland’s line-up for first match of the 2014 State of Origin series against New South Wales at Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane on Wednesday week (May 28).
The Queensland selectors have named only one out-and-out prop in their side in North Queensland’s Matt Scott while the other starting prop Nate Myles has played a lot of his football in the back row as well for club, state and country.
The formula of not having a noted front rower on the bench was used by the Maroons last year with Lillyman chosen as 18th man for game two as Queensland went about winning the series for a record eighth time on end.
Lillyman, it had to be said, had a compelling case for selection.
He has been a stand-out for the Vodafone Warriors this season, reeling off consistently outstanding displays which have earned him three players’ player of the day awards.
In his 10 appearances he has been averaging close to 140 metres a game and close to 25 tackles with just a handful of missed tackles and only two errors; he underlined the rich vein of form he’s in against the Bulldogs last Sunday when he made 158 metres from 17 carries and 35 tackles. His performance added further weight to calls for his selection.
Instead Queensland has named a bench of Daly Cherry-Evans, Ben Te’o, Aidan Guerra and Josh Papalii with Will Chambers and Jake Friend also going into camp.
Lillyman will now be able to line up for the Vodafone Warriors against Gold Coast on Saturday. The Titans have had one player named in the Queensland side – Myles – with Dave Taylor missing out.
Queensland: Billy Slater; Darius Boyd, Greg Inglis, Justin Hodges, Brent Tate; Johnathan Thurston, Cooper Cronk; Matt Scott, Cameron Smith, Nate Myles; Chris McQueen, Matt Gillett; Corey Parker. Interchange: Daly Cherry-Evans, Ben Te’o, Aidan Guerra, Josh Papalii.