Oates, Granville not on Williams' dream CQ NRL team
TOWERING Brisbane Broncos winger Corey Oates and North Queensland Cowboys hooker Jake Granville are preparing for the biggest match of their lives in Sunday's NRL Grand Final, but the future Origin stars still aren't ranked in Central Queensland's best 18.
Oates, Granville, Melbourne Storm sensation Cameron Munster and his teammates Tim Glasby and Kurt Mann have been overlooked for a Central Queensland NRL Dream Team selected by outgoing Central Queensland Capras captain Guy Williams.
The team was selected from CQ-raised players who have played in the NRL since its inception in 1998.
Williams has, for the most part, gone for those tried and tested stars of yesteryear, with Broncos halfback Ben Hunt, Cowboys co-captain Matt Scott and Catalans Dragons-bound hulk Dave Taylor the only current players included in the 18-man squad.
"It's a tough decision to leave out some of the guys who are going really well at the moment," Williams said.
"I just had to go with the players who have the runs on the board. In saying that, some of these guys playing now will no doubt have huge careers and will be certainties for a similar side in a few years time."
Either Scott or Hunt have the opportunity to become the sixth player in the squad to win an NRL premiership when the Cowboys tackle the Broncos on Sunday.
Ex-Emmaus College student Rhys Wesser earned his place in folklore when the classy former Queensland fullback provided the spark as the Penrith Panthers surged towards the 2003 title.
Winger Tony Martin, who hails from Gladstone, featured in the Storm's 1999 NRL Grand Final win seven years after former St Brendan's College student Julian O'Neill claimed back-to-back titles with the Brisbane Broncos in 1992-93.
Emerald flyer Steven Bell scored the final try in Manly Sea Eagles' 40-0 grand final win over the Storm in 2008 and former Canterbury Bulldogs hooker and Baralaba boy Jason Hetherington earned a premiership medallion in 1995.
Ex-Queensland Origin players Paul Bowman, Matt Sing and PJ Marsh have experience on the NRL's biggest day, with Sing and Marsh each playing in two grand finals during their careers while Bowman featured in the Cowboys' only other NRL Grand Final appearance in 2005.
Man mountain Darren Fritz, who played three Origin matches for Queensland in 1993 and ended up running a pub at Mt Morgan after retiring from the NRL in 1999, earned a spot in the front row alongside current Queensland and Australian prop Scott.
Miriam Vale-raised Queensland Origin workhorse Gary Larson lines up in the second row alongside prodigious talent Blackwater's Dave Taylor, while utility John Doyle locks the scrum.
Larson played 250 NRL/ARL/NSWRL matches during his 14-year career at the North Sydney Bears and Parramatta Eels, nine Tests for Australia and 24 consecutive matches for Queensland from 1991-98.
Taylor, 27, made his NRL debut for the Brisbane Broncos as a 17-year-old while still at St Brendan's College and played 170 NRL matches, eight Origins for Queensland and one Test match for Australia.
Doyle, who grew up in Rockhampton, enjoyed stints at the North Queensland Cowboys and Sydney Roosters and scored a try on debut for the Maroons as they went on to win the 2001 State of Origin series.
Entering the field after the opening exchanges, Marsh will be joined by former Brisbane Broncos prop Nick Kenny, ex-Canterbury Bulldogs centre and St Brendan's College alumni Shane Marteene and North Rockhampton High graduate Sid Domic.
Kenny was instrumental in steering the Broncos to within one win of the 2009 NRL Grand Final while Marteene and his Bulldogs' teammates were no match for Brisbane in the 1998 decider.
Domic represented Australian Schoolboys twice while attending NRHS before spending 15 seasons in the NSWRL/ARL/NRL and English Super League. He played in the 2006 Super League grand final for Hull FC.
Ex-Cowboys speedster Justin Loomans featured in the Cowboys' first ever win in 2005 and has earned a place as the team's 18th man after scoring 31 tries in 77 matches during some of the Cowboys' and South Sydney Rabbitohs' toughest years.
Munster was recognised by his peers last month as the best young talent in the game when he was named the Rugby League Players' Association's Rookie of the Year.
He was surprisingly overlooked as the NRL Dally M Rookie of the Year earlier in the week given the Storm haven't missed a beat since the Origin period when the talented Rockhampton junior took over from Australian fullback Billy Slater as the club's No.1.
His performance in the Storm's 32-12 preliminary final loss to grand finalists North Queensland on Saturday typified the 21-year-old's season.
Munster had 26 runs, more than twice that of any of his teammates and made the most metres, 227, of any player on the field.
Granville has been a vital cog in the Cowboys' machine during his first season at the club.
His combination with Queensland State of Origin utility Michael Morgan and 2015 NRL Dally M Player of the Year and Cowboys' skipper Johnathan Thurston has been instrumental in the Cowboys' surge towards Sunday's grand final.
Corey Oates, Cameron Munster and Jake Granville are State of Origin stars in the making, Williams says.
"I have no doubt that Munster, Jake and Oatesy are future State of Origin and, possibly even Australian players," Williams said.
"They are brilliant young players who have bright futures ahead of them and they have all showed they are among the NRL's elite."
CQ Dream Team
1. Rhys Wesser
2. Tony Martin
3. Steven Bell
4. Paul Bowman
5. Matt Sing
6. Julian O'Neill
7. Ben Hunt
8. Matt Scott (c)
9. Jason Hetherington
10. Darren Fritz
11. Gary Larson
12. Dave Taylor
13. John Doyle
14. PJ Marsh
15. Nick Kenny
16. Sid Domic
17. Shane Marteene
18. Justin Loomans