No grudges with Ricky: Watmough
After putting in a powerhouse performance that would've sent a strong reminder to NSW selectors of his talents, Manly back-rower Anthony Watmough declared he held no grudges despite being overlooked for the State of Origin opener.
Watmough, a controversial omission for Wednesday's game given his strong form this season and impressive record for the Blues, looked like a man on a mission as he guided his under-strength team to an 18-10 victory over the Sydney Roosters at Brookvale Oval on Sunday.
The tireless worker ran for 129 metres, made 34 tackles and lifted his side at every available opportunity - it was the type of performance the Blues will need to derail Queensland's bid for a seventh straight series win.
But the 28-year-old insisted that while he was disappointed to be missing this year's series opener he bore no ill will towards coach Ricky Stuart for overlooking him.
"I love playing Origin and it was pretty disappointing when Sticky (Stuart) rang me but in saying that he's gone in a direction and there's no animosity or ill feeling or anything," Watmough said after the match.
"I wish the Blues and Sticky the best for game one and I really hope that they stick it Queensland because I do believe that team they've got can knock them off.
"I just hope they do a number on them."
Watmough revealed Stuart had called him to let him know of the omission - saying club teammate Tony Williams had been given Watmough's spot on the bench despite having not played due to suspension since round three.
"Who am I to question his selection?" Watmough said.
"He's there for a reason and he's there to make the calls.
"I'm a big boy, I'll live with it."
The Test forward, who played against New Zealand in the mid-year Test last month, had not given up hope of returning for Origin II at ANZ Stadium on June 13.
"You never give up hope," he continued.
"(But) if they do a number on Queensland I don't think I'll be selected and Sticky will look like a champion and he deserves that.
"I really hope they do a number on Queensland and stick solid with the team they've got and build around that."
Also on Sunday, incumbent Blues five-eighth Jamie Soward, who was also overlooked for game one, starred for St George Illawarra but was unable to get his side across the line in their 19-18 golden point loss to South Sydney, with Rabbitoh Adam Reynolds sealing the win for the Rabbitohs.
"I thought he was great, it was the best game from him this season," Dragons coach Steve Price said.
"Deep down he was disappointed to miss out on Origin, but I've told him to just get his head down, keep working hard at training."
Meanwhile, NSW 18th man Tariq Sims' season is almost certainly over after it was confirmed he had broken both his tibia and his fibula while playing for North Queensland in Saturday night's 30-28 victory over Penrith.
And Wests Tigers expect centre Chris Lawrence to be fit for next round's clash with the Cowboys after scans revealed he'd only suffered a low range hamstring strain in Friday's two-point win over the Warriors.
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