Boyd Cordner will lead them out, Latrell Mitchell will be in the centres and Danny Buderus will be in the coach’s box.
Taree will be strongly represented in the NSW side for next Wednesday night’s opening State of Origin rugby league clash against Queensland at the Melbourne Cricket Ground.
Cordner, a nine game Origin veteran, has again been named captain. He led the Blues to an agonising 2-1 loss last year after NSW scored a brilliant win in game one. Cordner will be joined by Sydney Roosters team-mate, Mitchell, 20, who will be making his Origin debut. Mitchell will partner the Kempsey-born James Roberts in the centres. Buderus will be one of the team’s assistant coaches.
“Latrell and James are good mates,’’ Mitchell’s father, Matt, said yesterday. “There's always a bit of banter between them. James’ father comes from Forster as well.’’
Matt played minor grades with South Sydney and Balmain before returning home to ply his trade in Group Three, where he won premierships with Old Bar and Taree City. However, he’s taking no credit for Latrell’s meteoric rise in the NRL.
“It was all his mother (Trish),’’ he laughed. “I’m just a passenger.’’
Lattrell phoned his parents immediately after he was told of his selection.
“He was in shock – lost for words,’’ Matt said.
He added his son has done the little things right off the field and that’s contributed to his outstanding form this year.
Boyd Cordner’s form with the Roosters has been under scrutiny this season, with former NSW coach Phil Gould saying he shouldn’t even be in the side.
Cordner’s dad, Chris, said he was a bit underdone going into the season.
“The World Cup finished last December and then he had a minor knee procedure,’’ Chris said.
Boyd came home to Old Bar after Australia’s successful campaign in the World Cup – where he was named player of the match in the final.
“He let his hair down a bit and enjoyed himself,’’ Chris said.
However, he added the Roosters are still working with their combinations and the team has been inconsistent. “I think they're missing Mitchell Pearce,’’ he said.
Pearce left the Roosters after the club signed champion Melbourne halfback Cooper Cronk. He now plays for the Knights.
Chris spoke briefly to Boyd earlier this week.
“He’s been pretty busy. But I know he’s really happy for Latrell,’’ he said.
Chris will be heading to Melbourne to watch the series opener. Yesterday Matt and Trish weren’t as sure.
Chris is confident the Blues can end Queensland’s Origin dominance.
“But it’s going to be close, they're both young and inexperienced sides,’’ he warned
Latrell is Taree’s fourth Origin representative following Matt Adamson, Danny Buderus and Boyd.
“We’ll have Boyd and Latrell on the field next week and Danny on the coaching staff,’’ Chris said.
“That's great for our town.’’