Former Murwillumbah Mustang Anthony Laffranchi (left).
Former Murwillumbah Mustang Anthony Laffranchi (left). AAP

Boof's Origin role a mystery

NSW selectors worked out that they needed him, but what role the origin-ally-overlooked workhorse Anthony 'Boof' Laffranchi will play in the Blues' line-up tonight remains a mystery.

“The time I get will depend on where Craig (Bellamy) decides he wants me to play,” Laffranchi said.

A surprise omission from the initial selection, the 28-year-old Murwillumbah product was called up as 18th man and finally made the 17 after injuries to Australian lock Glenn Stuart and Cronulla firebrand Paul Gallen ruled them out of the series opener in Melbourne tonight.

“I was sitting around disappointed one day and I'm joining the rest of the boys the next,” Laffranchi said.

Although Penrith utility Luke Lewis was the man named ahead of Laffranchi less than a fortnight ago, there is growing speculation the Titans second-rower will run on first.

Regardless of his role, the incumbent Test forward said he had plenty of motivation to step up in his fourth State of Origin encounter.

“It would be good to start the game, because I want to be part of the initial Origin fireworks, which are always fun, and put a stamp on the game as early as possible,” Laffranchi said.

“If he wants me off the bench, then I'll come on and hopefully give the team an instant lift.

“I want to let the opposition know I'm out there and hopefully that will re-energise the boys.

“It depends what Craig thinks is best for the balance of the team - Luke can cover a number of positions, so his utility role may be important on the bench like (Craig) Wing.”

With seven rookies in the side, Laffranchi knows much will be asked of NSW's experience, confidence and combinations, but he believes Bellamy has them ready.

“Preparations have been a lot more relaxed than previous years, which has helped the guys come together and taken some of the pressure off the new faces,” he said.

“All the guys need to remember is that they were chosen because they are playing good footy.”

State pride is on the line from 8pm.


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