Rugby League


Canberra Raiders legends call for Shannon Boyd and Junior Paulo in NSW front row

Canberra Raiders prop Shannon Boyd is in danger of being snubbed for the NSW Blues just two weeks after being named in the Australian side.

Boyd was a late scratching for the Anzac Test through injury but didn't miss any club action and will use the Raiders clash against the Parramatta Eels on Saturday as a final audition for Blues coach Laurie Daley who names his side on Monday.

Raiders' Junior Paulo, Jarrod Croker and Joey Leilua are also gunning for Blues debuts, but Boyd has the most to lose after breaking into the Kangaroos side at the end of last season.

His spot may be taken by former teammate Paul Vaughan who was dumped by the Raiders last year but has been unstoppable for St George Illawarra this season.

Raiders and NSW great Glenn Lazarus said Boyd wouldn't be the first to play for Australia and not State of Origin, but believes the 24-year-old deserves his spot.

"Before he got injured his form warranted selection and I think he would be very good in that No. 17 jumper for NSW," Lazarus said.


"Everyone likes to start but the bench is very important in Origin because it's so fast and off the bench he'll bring that go forward NSW need.

"I like the way he plays, he's a no-nonsense front rower who makes yards and plays the ball as quick as he can and I think his defense is sound. He's certainly a quality player that deserves to play Origin and should be in the side."

Paulo is also vying for a spot in the NSW front row with the Raiders wrecking ball in great touch this season, but Lazurus said the metre eater isn't fit enough for the Origin arena.

"Junior would handle the physicality of the game but I just think someone like Shannon has the stamina and fitness to really mix it on that stage because you can't appreciate how fast the game is and how much energy you burn up in a short space of time," Lazurus said.

"Without sounding too harsh I think Junior needs to get himself a little fitter, he doesn't play a lot of minutes and that's not his fault, but you'd get more minutes out of Shannon and that's important in Origin because the situation can change very quickly."

Raiders legend Jason Croker has called for Boyd and Paulo to both be given Blue jumpers this month, stating the time for change is now.

"I'd like to see the two Canberra boys in the front row but I've got a funny feeling they'll go with [David] Klemmer again," Croker said.

"It's disappointing, the boys have been going good and are getting overlooked, it'd be frustrating for them because all they can do is play well for Canberra and they have been.

"They've just got to keep plugging away and persevering and hopefully one day it'll happen."

Croker said the Raiders inconsistent form this season could cost the duo selection, pointing to the Dragons resurgence and naming Vaughan as a potential bolter.

"They [Blues] don't like to change the side around too much but another one they could pick who hasn't played before is Paul Vaughan because St George have been going better than the Raiders this season," Croker said.

"If the Raiders were right up top and flying like they were last year it would certainly make it a lot harder not to pick those boys."

Croker and Lazurus said whoever wins game one will take the series and both tipped a NSW boilover in Brisbane on May 31.