Gallen to lead VB Blues with five newcomers

Inspirational Sharks captain Paul Gallen will lead a NSW VB Blues team featuring five debutants and seven Dragons in the 17-man team named today for game one of the 2011 Harvey Norman State of Origin series on Wednesday week.

The debutants are Dragons' Jamie Soward, who has won the battle for the five-eighth spot, interchange players Dean Young and Trent Merrin, Raiders fullback Josh Dugan and Knights winger Akuila Uate.

The Dragons' Blues debutants will be joined by fellow team-mates winger Brett Morris, centre Mark Gasnier, second rower Beau Scott and interchange Ben Creagh, who have been rewarded for the defending premiers' devastating form to lead the Telstra Premiership with 9 wins from 10 games.    

Soward will pair up with Roosters halfback Mitchell Pearce for the Origin opener at Brisbane's Suncorp Stadium on May 25.

New South wales Rugby League chairman John Chalk announced the team at Star City Casino.

The Queensland Origin team will be named on Tuesday at 1pm.

The NSW VB Blues team for Origin I:
Fullback: Josh Dugan (Canberra Raiders)
Wing: Brett Morris (St George Illawarra Dragons)
Centre: Michael Jennings (Penrith Panthers)
Centre: Mark Gasnier (St George Illawarra Dragons)
Wing: Akuila Uate (Newcastle Knights)
Five-eighth: Jamie Soward (St George Illawarra Dragons)
Halfback: Mitchell Pearce (Sydney Roosters)
Front Row: Jason King (Manly Sea Eagles)
Hooker: Michael Ennis (Bulldogs)
Front Row: Kade Snowden (Cronulla Sharks)
Second Row: Beau Scott (St George Illawarra Dragons)
Second Row: Greg Bird (Gold Coast Titans
Lock: Paul Gallen (C) (Cronulla Sharks
Interchange: Ben Creagh (St George Illawarra Dragons
Interchange: Trent Merrin (St George Illawarra Dragons
Interchange: Tim Mannah (Parramatta Eels)
Interchange: Dean Young (St George Illawarra Dragons)