(from left) Queensland Maroons coach Kevin Walters, Queensland player Cooper Cronk, Blues player Aaron Woods and NSW coach Laurie Daley at the State of Origin Series launch at ANZ Stadium.
(from left) Queensland Maroons coach Kevin Walters, Queensland player Cooper Cronk, Blues player Aaron Woods and NSW coach Laurie Daley at the State of Origin Series launch at ANZ Stadium. PAUL MILLER

Blues hold off on announcing Origin skipper

PAUL Gallen's successor as New South Wales State of Origin captain will not be unveiled until the team is named for the series opener, coach Laurie Daley has revealed.

A number of players, including Wests Tigers captain Aaron Woods, Roosters forward Boyd Cordner, Bulldogs second-rower Josh Jackson and Sharks star Wade Graham have all been talked about as potential skippers for the Blues but Daley was staying tight-lipped.

"You'll find out the night of May 21 I think, when we announce the team," Daley said at the Origin series launch in Sydney.

"We won't announce who it'll be until right up until that date.

"We don't know who's going to be available.

"Until then, we'll keep it pretty close to the chest but we haven't even discussed who the captain will be at this stage.

"We've got an idea of a group we're looking at and seeing how they're developing."

Woods is considered the favourite to fill Gallen's shoes and without givinbg anything away, Daley was full of praise for the Wests Tigers prop.

"Woodsy's a great leader and he'd certainly be someone that we'd consider," he said.

"He's been a part of the team now for the last couple of years and he's grown as a leader for the Tigers.

"He's certainly learnt on the run with what he's been through over the two years. But he's certainly figured in a lot of the discussions."

Woods played down his chances of becoming the next skipper but said it would hard to replace Gallen.

"It'll be difficult without big Galza," he said.

"Obviously when you normally refer to NSW the last 5-6 years, it's always big Gal, big G-train. It's going to be different without the big fella here.

"Some young guy's going to have to step up now. It opens up a spot for Dave Klemmer, big Pig (Shannon Boyd) from Canberra, he's been playing some really good footy, and Jake Trbojevic.

"We've got some really good forwards, but everyone's going to have to pick up their game because Gal does 20 hit ups and 40 tackles. We're going to have to share the workload around."

The State of Origin opener is at Suncorp Stadium on May 31.

News Corp Australia


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