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Thurston, Woods to push Origin claims

NZN 16/05/2017 Steve Zemek and Laine Clark

North Queensland maestro Johnathan Thurston and Wests Tigers prop Aaron Woods are set to make early returns from injury this weekend, as they push to prove their fitness for State of Origin I.

Thurston, Woods and Gold Coast star Jarryd Hayne have all been named despite fitness clouds, while Mitchell Moses has been included for Parramatta after receiving a release from the Tigers.

Thurston joined Cowboys teammates on the plane to Sydney for Thursday's clash with Cronulla, however coach Paul Green was coy about his availability.

He hasn't trained since suffering a shoulder injury in the Anzac Test but could play if he gets through Wednesday's captain's run.

"He has to get his strength back in his shoulder," Green said.

"If it doesn't, then you take a massive risk that he will do his shoulder properly and, if he does that, his season is finished - that's not worth the risk at this stage."

Cowboys hooker Jake Granville has also been named after copping a blow to his leg last week in his comeback from a broken leg.

Woods has been named in the Tigers' starting side to take on Brisbane after making a quicker-than-expected recovery from a hamstring complaint.

He was seen taking part in full training drills including contact on Tuesday and, should he pull through Friday night's game, his name will be read out on Monday when NSW coach Laurie Daley announces his Blues team for Origin I.

Daley had struck a red line through Woods' name, however the Tigers' skipper has stormed back into contention for the May 31 series opener.

"Woodsy definitely needs a game - it's too much of an ask for a front-rower to go into an Origin game without football under his belt," Daley said.

"It's a lot easier for an outside back. As a front-rower, you need to be match-hardened. Hopefully, Woodsy is able to play."

Hayne also looks set for an Origin recall after being named at centre for the Titans' clash with Manly, despite suffering a knee injury last week against Melbourne.

Moses is set to line up for the Eels against Canberra after joining the Eels on Tuesday. He has been named in the No.21 jumper but is likely to turn out in the blue and gold for the first time.

In a further boost for Brad Arthur's side, skipper Beau Scott and fullback Bevan French both return.

Jack Littlejohn will step into Moses' shoes and wear the Tigers' No.6 jumper.

Brisbane halfback Ben Hunt is a chance to make his comeback from a hamstring injury after being included on an extended bench, while speedster James Roberts (ankle) has also been named.

Matt Wright will assume the Manly No.1 jersey from Tom Trbojevic (ankle/knee).

Canberra welcome back Josh Papalii from suspension for a drink-driving conviction.

Penrith back-rower James Fisher-Harris is out with a hamstring complaint, with his starting spot to be taken by Corey Harawira-Naera.

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