In a welcome shot in the arm for Robert Lui, the controversial Wests Tigers halfback has been picked for what is considered the stepping stone to Maroons selection, the Queensland Emerging Origin camp tutored by Wayne Bennett.
Queensland Emerging Origin Squad
Ben Barba (Bulldogs), Daniel Vidot (Canberra), Jharal Yow Yeh (Broncos), Dane Nielsen (Melbourne), Justin O’Neill (Melbourne), Daly Cherry-Evans (Manly), Robert Lui (Wests Tigers), Martin Kennedy (Sydney Roosters), Jake Friend (Sydney Roosters), Matt Bell (Penrith), Matt Gillett (Broncos), Ben Te’o (Broncos), Ben Lowe (Souths), William Zillman (Titans)
Lui has only recently returned to Wests Tigers training after being charged with assaulting his pregnant partner.
The Tigers lifted a ban on Lui being involved in club activities after his bail conditions were changed last month, enabling him to have contact with his partner.
Lui is among nine new faces in the 14-strong squad to attend the three day camp next month, including another who has made headlines off the field – Sydney Roosters rake Jake Friend.
He bounced back from several alcohol-fuelled incidents to help guide the Roosters to the 2010 NRL grand final.
Last month he escaped a conviction for possessing a restricted drug but was put on a good behaviour bond for two years.
The other newcomers in the squad are 2010 Dally M Rookie of the Year Matt Gillett, Ben Barba, Dane Nielsen, Justin O’Neill, Daly Cherry-Evans, Martin Kennedy and Ben Te’o.
David Taylor used the squad as a springboard to Origin selection in 2010 while Jharal Yow Yeh and Ben Lowe were selected as 18th men during this year’s series after also attending the camp.
Yow Yeh and Lowe have retained their spots in the squad. Daniel Vidot, Matt Bell and William Zillman will also return.
Buford Balony says: Another Tigers player heading upwards is good to see.