By Alex Nolan
Can Queensland hold onto the inaugural TAB Origin Greyhound Shield, or will New South Wales bounce back when the two sides lock horns at Albion Park on June 6?
Excitement is starting to build ahead of the one-of-its kind event, which pits the best greyhounds from the Sunshine State against the ‘cockroaches’ from down south.
Squads for the second installment will be announced at Thursday’s TAB Winter Greyhound Racing Carnival celebration at Albion Park (May 16).
The event is open to all licensees in Queensland, and will also celebrate the recent announcement of a $500,000 ‘Super Night’, including the $375,000 Brisbane Cup.
Both Queensland and New South Wales selectors will announce squads of 25, which will be narrowed down to teams of 9 (plus emergencies) to do battle at Albion Park on Thursday, June 6.
Celebrity coaches Chris Walker (Queensland) and Terry Hill (New South Wales) will both be on-course at Albion Park on Thursday to help announce the squads.
Hill, who represented New South Wales and Australia during the 1990s, has been a passionate advocate for greyhound racing since he was a teenager.
He was thrilled to be part of the inaugural series in 2018 but is hoping his home state can exact revenge for their heavy defeat.
Walker, who showed greyhound-like speed on the field when representing the Maroons during the 2000s, had the honour of holding the Origin trophy aloft in 2018, and is hoping to do the same this year.
Selectors from both states have a tough task ahead of them, with a number of rising stars putting their hands up since this time last year.
Greyhounds such as Infrared Star, Wise Misty and Rio Brave have all put themselves into contention. Last year’s distance champion, Double Gee, has found form again at the right time of year, while Big Bad Bob continues to fly the flag for trainer Dr George Clegg.
Meanwhile, New South Wales has bolstered its stocks.
Greyhounds like Federal Lilly, Easter Egg winner Zipping Bailey, Nangar Kash and Million Dollar Chase winner Mystic Riot could be in contention to help wrestle back the shield.
Queensland selectors: Gerard Daffy (TAB), Doug Lutherborrow (RQ), Luke Gatehouse (Brisgreys).
NSW Selectors: Wayne Billett (GRNSW), Ryan Earl-Najjor (GRNSW) and Tim Newbold (TAB).