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Experts Roar: Selection changes for Origin 3? Latrell, Wighton, Flegler, Fifita, Crichton, Talakai

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29th June, 2022
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Rugby league fans rejoice, we have a State of Origin decider.

There’s no bigger letdown than an Origin dead rubber but the shield will be up for grabs when NSW travel to Queensland’s fortress of Suncorp Stadium for game three on July 13.

Brad Fittler faces the option of keeping a winning squad intact after the 44-12 thumping of Queensland in Perth last Sunday although he now has Jack Wighton and Latrell Mitchell available. Blues prop Payne Haas will be right for Origin III after being cleared of a serious ankle injury.

For the Maroons, coach Billy Slater is sweating on the fitness of five-eighth Cameron Munster’s shoulder but it looks like he will also be available for the series finale.

However, he may look to make changes after his team was thoroughly outclassed in WA.

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What changes should be made for the decider?

The Roar experts have their say and if you’d like to do likewise, fire away in the comments section below.

Experts Roar – Teams for Origin 2

Michael Hagan (premiership-winning player and coach)

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NSW should look at bringing Jack Wighton back into the squad after the way he performed in game one and he only missed the second match due to COVID. I’d pick him on the bench ahead of Siosifa Talakai.

1 James Tedesco
2 Daniel Tupou
3 Stephen Crichton
4 Matt Burton
5 Brian To’o
6 Jarome Luai
7 Nathan Cleary
8 Payne Haas
9 Api Koroisau
10 Jake Trbojevic
11 Cameron Murray
12 Liam Martin
13 Isaah Yeo
14 Damien Cook
15 Junior Paulo
16 Angus Crichton
17 Jack Wighton

Queensland should bring Jai Arrow into the starting side at lock because he can play big minutes and give their pack more mobility. I’d switch Tino Fa’asuamaleaui back to prop and play Lindsay Collins off the bench where he was much more effective in game one.

1 Kalyn Ponga
2 Murray Taulagi
3 Valentine Holmes
4 Dane Gagai
5 Selwyn Cobbo
6 Cameron Munster
7 Daly Cherry-Evans
8 Josh Papali’i
9 Ben Hunt
10 Tino Fa’asuamaleaui
11 Felise Kaufusi
12 Kurt Capewell
13 Jai Arrow
14 Harry Grant
15 Patrick Carrigan
16 Jeremiah Nanai
17 Lindsay Collins

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Daniel Tupou. (Getty Images)

Paul Suttor (Roar expert)

NSW should give Latrell Mitchell a run in the centres ahead of Stephen Crichton if he looks like he’s back to his old self for Souths this weekend against Parramatta. If there’s any doubt about Mitchell’s fitness then Jack Wighton should be recalled.

1 James Tedesco
2 Daniel Tupou
3 Latrell Mitchell/Jack Wighton
4 Matt Burton
5 Brian To’o
6 Jarome Luai
7 Nathan Cleary
8 Payne Haas
9 Api Koroisau
10 Jake Trbojevic
11 Cameron Murray
12 Liam Martin
13 Isaah Yeo
14 Damien Cook
15 Junior Paulo
16 Angus Crichton
17 Wighton/Siosifa Talakai

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Queensland should bring Jai Arrow into the starting side at lock because he can play big minutes and give their pack more mobility. I’d switch Tino Fa’asuamaleaui back to prop and play Lindsay Collins off the bench where he was much more effective in game one.

1 Kalyn Ponga
2 Murray Taulagi
3 Valentine Holmes
4 Dane Gagai
5 Selwyn Cobbo
6 Cameron Munster
7 Daly Cherry-Evans
8 Josh Papali’i
9 Ben Hunt
10 Tino Fa’asuamaleaui
11 Felise Kaufusi
12 Kurt Capewell
13 Jai Arrow
14 Harry Grant
15 Patrick Carrigan
16 Jeremiah Nanai
17 Lindsay Collins

Stuart Thomas (Roar expert)

It is difficult to even comprehend what Queensland could do at the selection table in an effort to turn around what was an embarrassing loss in Origin II. The Blues were rampant once relentless pressure finally opened to gates to points and despite the parochial home support guaranteed up north, NSW will enter this fixture even firmer favourites than they were in Perth.

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For NSW, With Payne Haas almost certain to be available and now named for the Broncos in Round 16 NRL action against the Cowboys this Saturday night, coach Brad Fittler will be hoping to take an unchanged line-up into the series decider at Suncorp Stadium on July 13. Thus, the Blues will likely start with the same 17 after each and every member of the squad played their role last Sunday. Debate around whether Apisai Koroisau or Damien Cook is best suited to start the game should not alter selection, with Koroisau deserving of another starting opportunity.

1 James Tedesco
2 Daniel Tupou
3 Stephen Crichton
4 Matt Burton
5 Brian To’o
6 Jarome Luai
7 Nathan Cleary
8 Payne Haas
9 Api Koroisau
10 Jake Trbojevic
11 Cameron Murray
12 Liam Martin
13 Isaah Yeo
14 Damien Cook
15 Junior Paulo
16 Angus Crichton
17 Siosifa Talakai

Things look very different for Queensland, with names like Selwyn Cobbo, Dane Gagai and the majority of the forwards coming off very poor performances. The grunt was simply not there in the west and the halves and quick men stood little chance once the Blues’ ascendency had been established after half-time. Patrick Carrigan was once again the Maroons best through the middle and with little difference between the Queensland pack chosen for Games I and II, despite the vastly different results, coach Billy Slater will most likely stick tight with his group.

However, Jai Arrow could well be under pressure after a listless performance and the moving of Lindsay Collins into the starting side appeared to backfire badly. Slater will most likely slot Tino Fa’asuamaleaui back into the engine room, promote Carrigan to the starting side and shuffle a second-rower back to lock, or bring Jeremiah Nanai into the starting line-up in a move that may reek of sheer desperation.  Sadly for Queensland, outside of the current squad there are few if any, better options. 

1 Kalyn Ponga
2 Murray Taulagi
3 Valentine Holmes
4 Dane Gagai
5 Selwyn Cobbo
6 Cameron Munster
7 Daly Cherry-Evans
8 Josh Papali’i
9 Ben Hunt
10 Tino Fa’asuamaleaui
11 Felise Kaufusi
12 Patrick Carrigan
13 Jeremiah Nanai
14 Harry Grant
15 Jai Arrow
16 Kurt Capewell
17 Lindsay Collins

Jarome Luai of the Blues drops the ball in a tackle during game two of the State of Origin series between New South Wales Blues and Queensland Maroons at Optus Stadium, on June 26, 2022, in Perth, Australia. (Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)

Jarome Luai. (Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)

Joe Frost (Roar expert)

For NSW, I’d say you don’t change a winning team but that was Freddie‘s 2020 mistake. If Latrell Mitchell is fit, he’s in for Stephen Crichton, the latter having been unremarkable in his two games this series. Reckon that’ll do though. Fix a weak-ish link at centre with a proven gun and if the rest of the team isn’t up to it, that’s a far deeper issue than selections.

1 James Tedesco
2 Daniel Tupou
3 Latrell Mitchell
4 Matt Burton
5 Brian To’o
6 Jarome Luai
7 Nathan Cleary
8 Payne Haas
9 Api Koroisau
10 Jake Trbojevic
11 Cameron Murray
12 Liam Martin
13 Isaah Yeo
14 Damien Cook
15 Junior Paulo
16 Angus Crichton
17 Jack Wighton

Queensland? Well I’m from NSW, so I don’t get it. But if you’ll indulge me… Gagai is out, so is Papalii and Kaufusi. First two for a lack of performance in the first two games, the third because maybe the refs have (finally) worked out that he’s cheating just like, all the time.

The problem is that the aforementioned trio actually have won Origin series before and the team need a few old heads who know how it’s done. So, actually… Billy, the fortune cookies say, “open up the ‘stick with your wife’ barrel.”

1 Kalyn Ponga
2 Murray Taulagi
3 Valentine Holmes
4 Dane Gagai
5 Selwyn Cobbo
6 Cameron Munster
7 Daly Cherry-Evans
8 Josh Papali’i
9 Ben Hunt
10 Tino Fa’asuamaleaui
11 Felise Kaufusi
12 Kurt Capewell
13 Jai Arrow
14 Harry Grant
15 Patrick Carrigan
16 Jeremiah Nanai
17 Lindsay Collins

Mary Konstantopoulos (Ladies Who League)

For NSW, they say don’t change a winning side. I usually agree but with Latrell Mitchell and Jack Wighton available I would bring them in for Stephen Crichton and Siosifa Takakai.

1 James Tedesco
2 Daniel Tupou
3 Latrell Mitchell
4 Matt Burton
5 Brian To’o
6 Jarome Luai
7 Nathan Cleary
8 Payne Haas
9 Api Koroisau
10 Jake Trbojevic
11 Cameron Murray
12 Liam Martin
13 Isaah Yeo
14 Damien Cook
15 Junior Paulo
16 Angus Crichton
17 Jack Wighton

Nathan Cleary Origin

(Photo by Paul Kane/Getty Images)

Unfortunately for Queensland, I don’t think they have too many options. David Fifita has been named for the Titans this week so I would bring him in for Jeremiah Nanai who shows promise, but I don’t think is quite ready for this level. There are still question marks over Rueben Cotter but if he is free he should come in for Jai Arrow.

1 Kalyn Ponga
2 Murray Taulagi
3 Valentine Holmes
4 Dane Gagai
5 Selwyn Cobbo
6 Cameron Munster
7 Daly Cherry-Evans
8 Josh Papali’i
9 Ben Hunt
10 Tino Fa’asuamaleaui
11 Felise Kaufusi
12 Kurt Capewell
13 Reuben Cotter/Jai Arrow
14 Harry Grant
15 Patrick Carrigan
16 David Fifita
17 Lindsay Collins

Danielle Smith (Roar expert)

NSW shouldn’t make too many changes. I’m just still pushing my mission to get Reece Robson in the side though. I have put him at nine, put Api on the bench and removed Cook who wasn’t anything special the past two games.

1 James Tedesco
2 Daniel Tupou
3 Stephen Crichton
4 Matt Burton
5 Brian To’o
6 Jarome Luai
7 Nathan Cleary
8 Payne Haas
9 Reece Robson
10 Jake Trbojevic
11 Cameron Murray
12 Liam Martin
13 Isaah Yeo
14 Api Koroisau
15 Junior Paulo
16 Angus Crichton
17 Jack Wighton

Queensland were woreful – I’d be bringing Corey Oates, The Hammer, Francis Molo and Coen Hess into the side.

1 Kalyn Ponga
2 Corey Oates
3 Valentine Holmes
4 Dane Gagai
5 Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow
6 Cameron Munster
7 Daly Cherry-Evans
8 Francis Molo
9 Ben Hunt
10 Patrick Carrigan
11 Coen Hess
12 Jeremiah Nanai
13 Tino Fa’asumaleaui
14 Harry Grant
15 Kurt Capewell
16 Josh Papalii
17 Lindsay Collins

Selwyn Cobbo for Queensland

(Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)

Mike Meehall Wood (Roar expert)

NSW: Stephen Crichton underwhelmed while Burton excelled, so I’d drop Critta and bring back Wighton. Burto has to stay left centre because his kicking into the open field is so vital. I’d also lose Talakai off the bench and bring Matterson back, but that won’t happen.

1 James Tedesco
2 Daniel Tupou
3 Jack Wighton
4 Matt Burton
5 Brian To’o
6 Jarome Luai
7 Nathan Cleary
8 Payne Haas
9 Api Koroisau
10 Jake Trbojevic
11 Cameron Murray
12 Liam Martin
13 Isaah Yeo
14 Damien Cook
15 Junior Paulo
16 Angus Crichton
17 Ryan Matterson

Queensland need to look seriously at their younger players. I was against Cobbo and Nanai before the series because they’re raw and while I think they will be long-term features in Origin, I didn’t think they were quite ready. Taulagi is ready, and I’d be bringing Oates back for Game 3. Nanai is a pure edge and I don’t see what that adds at this stage, so I’d bring in Flegler as a middle.

1 Kalyn Ponga
2 Murray Taulagi
3 Valentine Holmes
4 Dane Gagai
5 Corey Oates
6 Cameron Munster
7 Daly Cherry-Evans
8 Josh Papali’i
9 Ben Hunt
10 Tino Fa’asuamaleaui
11 Felise Kaufusi
12 Kurt Capewell
13 Jai Arrow
14 Harry Grant
15 Patrick Carrigan
16 Tom Flegler
17 Lindsay Collins

AJ Mithen (Roar expert)

NSW have no real reason to make wholesale changes but I’d take Stephen Crichton out. Like I said before game two, I just don’t think he’s up to this level. Jack Wighton back to the centres. Depending on his fitness I’d have Ryan Matterson back to the bench. I still think it’s madness there’s no Josh Addo-Carr and I’d still put him in ahead of Tupou, but I’m realistic enough to know that ship has sailed. Freddie took on enough of my advice before game two anyway.

1 James Tedesco
2 Daniel Tupou
3 Jack Wighton
4 Matt Burton
5 Brian To’o
6 Jarome Luai
7 Nathan Cleary
8 Payne Haas
9 Api Koroisau
10 Jake Trbojevic
11 Cameron Murray
12 Liam Martin
13 Isaah Yeo
14 Damien Cook
15 Junior Paulo
16 Angus Crichton
17 Ryan Matterson

Queensland need more beef and better moving beef. Lindsay Collins gave next to no go-forward and Josh Papalii’s usage is just bizarre so I send him to the bench to be a better impact when it’s needed. Was tempted to bring in Thomas Flegler, to be honest. MoFo in as he should have been the whole time, he always gives wholehearted for his state. Jai Arrow out, a fit again David Fifita in and Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow to the wing for Murray Tualagi if fitness permits, as it should have been in game two. One final tweak is Harry Grant to start to get to work with DEC and Munster. If Ponga is out, Reece Walsh to the No.1 jersey.

1 Kalyn Ponga/Reece Walsh
2 Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow (if fit)
3 Valentine Holmes
4 Dane Gagai
5 Selwyn Cobbo
6 Cameron Munster
7 Daly Cherry-Evans
8 Mo Fotuaika
9 Harry Grant
10 Tino Fa’asuamaleaui
11 Felise Kaufusi
12 Kurt Capewell
13 David Fifita
14 Ben Hunt
15 Patrick Carrigan
16 Josh Papalii
17 Lindsay Collins

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