QLD likely to play the loyalty card

Petero Civoniceva

He has been a mainstay of the QLD side for the good part of 6-7 seasons, and although the allure of promoting young front-rowers to the Origin arena is in their minds – former Queenslander Greg Dowling believes that the selectors will play the loyalty card with Broncos prop Petero Civoniceva, and select him.

With many young, talented props to choose from – a decision will have to be made sooner rather than later, as to whether or not Civoniceva should get a final year at Origin level, or whether the time is now to promote young players, and mold them for the future.

Despite all the talk however, Civoniceva, who is the most capped forward, says that he does not want to hold the burden of preventing a young player from getting a start.

To illustrate the resiliency and toughness of the 36-year old Civoniceva, he has played in 30 Origin games for QLD, and has played in the front-row for 16 of the last 18 games (6 series).

Despite all of the talk however, Dowling still believes that the QLD selectors will stick with Petero, even if it is for just one game.

“Nobody could argue Petero hasn’t been a great stalwart but there comes a time for all us,” Dowling said.

“You can go too long.

“They’ll probably remain loyal to him for game one. That’s the beauty of Queensland’s selectors – they are very loyal.

“If he says he wants to play, they’ll pick him.

“(But)…. We’re not short on props but Matt Scott (foot) needs to get some games under his belt.”

Civoniceva, who missed the first game of the season, and is only now starting to reach top form – had off-season surgery, preventing him from hitting his peak earlier.

“I’m available but I’m not too concerned about it (Origin) at the moment. My focus is doing the job for the Broncos,” Civoniceva said on Monday.

“I spoke to Mal a few weeks ago and we had a good chat. He wanted me to concentrate on playing well for the Broncos.

“We’ve got some good front-rowers to pick from at the moment and all I can do is make sure I’m playing my best football for Brisbane.”

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