STATEOFATTACK: Matt King bursts through the Maroon defence during the State of Origin series won by the Blues.
STATEOFATTACK: Matt King bursts through the Maroon defence during the State of Origin series won by the Blues.

King on the wing

By IANMONAGHAN and AAP

FORMER Casino rugby league product Matt King is one of two players to make their debuts for Australia in the green and gold on Saturday.

King and workaholic Queensland Cowboys second-rower Luke O'Donnell are the new boys for the Kangaroos' Tri Series battle against New Zealand at Sydney's Telstra Stadium.

The selection of King came as no surprise to former teammate and Northern Star rugby league writer David Krause. This time last week in his final column for the season, Krause said: "Based on his form, he (King) will be in the run-on side for the first match of the series against New Zealand."

He was right.

Following on a commanding set of performances in the NSW State of Origin series victory and a leading role with the Melbourne Storm during the NRL season, King should ensure plenty of local interest in Saturday's Tri Series Test, with particular attention from his brothers and family at Casino.

King's selection along with Brisbane's Brent Tate in the centres has meant St George Illawarra's Matt Cooper has missed a place in the 17-man line-up for the opening match of the series at Telstra Stadium.

O'Donnell replaces injured Parramatta star Nathan Hindmarsh, with Bulldogs captain Andrew Ryan gaining a spot on the bench.

Kiwis blood three

Three newcomers have been included in the New Zealand rugby league team for the Tri Nations opener against Australia at Sydney's Telstra Stadium on Saturday.

Coach Brian McClennan named wingers Manu Vatuvei (NZ Warriors) and Jake Webster (Melbourne) and Cowboys young star David Faiumu in his team yesterday.

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