Melbourne Storm workhorse Robbie Kearns has been rewarded for his outstanding start to the 2003 Telstra Premiership season by being named captain of the City Origin team that will take on the Country side this Friday night in Gosford.
Despite missing out on the preliminary NSW squad Kearns� chances of returning to State of Origin have increased dramatically with last night�s announcement.
Kearns has been in sparkling form this year for the fourth placed Storm and has been forced to shoulder much of the workload up forward in the absence of fellow front-rower Rodney Howe.
�To be honest I was very shocked to hear that I had been selected,� Kearns said last night.
�I wasn�t named in the preliminary NSW Origin squad so I really didn�t give myself a chance to make rep sides this year.
�Obviously I�m delighted to not only be named in the City side but to be named captain again is fantastic.�
This year�s City/Country match will be a precursor to the State of Origin series starting next month and Kearns believes his recall to the City side � his second consecutive year as captain � is the result of hard work and an injury-free year.
�Last year I struggled with an ankle injury for most of the season but this year I�ve been injury-free and really enjoying my footy,� Kearns added.
�We�ve had plenty of setbacks at the club with injury and so on but I think that has only made the team�s resolve stronger.�
Kearns� work rate this year has been phenomenal, with Howe sidelined for the year and tackling machine Richard Swain gone, the former Test forward has lifted in all areas of his game.
Averaging just over 31 tackles and 14 hitups per game, 31-year-old Kearns was once again the Storm�s linchpin in Saturday night�s win over the Raiders.
STORM TRAINING THIS WEEK Monday: 10am � Gosch�s Paddock Tuesday: 2pm � Gosch�s Paddock Wednesday: 9.30am � Gosch�s Paddock Thursday: 1.30pm � Olympic Park Saturday: 4pm � Brisbane
For further information contact
James Avery: Phone (03) 9421 3222 Mobile: 0411 623 024 [email protected]