City Coach Brad Fittler Struggled To Find Players For City v Country Clash

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City Coach Brad Fittler Struggled To Find Players For City v Country Clash

Jake Marketo has been named on the bench for NSW City Origin despite failing to crack NRL level for St George Illawarra this season.

The representative availability crisis hit a new low on Monday morning, when City were forced to delay their team naming due to the high amount of withdrawals of eligible players.

By midday, they were able to name three players with NSW State of Origin experience - captain Paul Gallen, fullback Matt Moylan and prop James Tamou - but it's in the back row and on the bench where the drama is best highlighted

Parramatta's David Gower will start despite spending all but two games this year as the Eels' 18th man or in reserve grade, while Hame Sele is at lock after having come off the bench in four games for the Dragons.

Pauli Pauli is also yet to play first grade this year at Newcastle but is named, after dislocating his hip in a pre-season car crash.

Penrith halfback Nathan Cleary will also come off the bench, but it's Marketo's inclusion which raises the most eyebrows.

He has played 50 NRL games for the Dragons, but has been included in their 21-man squad once this season - and that was in round one.

He has spent the rest of the year playing reserve grade for Illawarra.

There are no players from Canberra or North Queensland in either City or Country sides after coaches Ricky Stuart and Paul Green suggested they would make their players unavailable.

Meanwhile the Bulldogs have just one after Des Hasler made a similar threat - with Adam Elliott named for Country.

City Coach Brad Fittler has also named Bryce Cartwright at five-eighth, denying Matt Moylan a trial in the halves ahead of NSW State of Origin selection.

It's understood that was also caused due to the high number of unavailable players for the Mudgee clash with Country, which will be the last of the annual fixture.

Cronulla premiership-winning halfback Chad Townsend will wear the No.7, while in-form St George Illawarra hooker Cameron McInness is at dummy-half.

City: Matt Moylan, Clinton Gutherson, Nathan Ross, Tyrone Peachey, Josh Addo-Carr, Bryce Cartwright, Chad Townsend, James Tamou, Cameron McInnes, Paul Gallen, Curtis Sironen, David Gower, Hame Sele, Joseph Paulo, Nathan Cleary, Pauli Pauli, Jake Marketo.

- AAP

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