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New South Wales
New South Wales
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The NSW Blues have forced a decider, winning Origin 2 38-6 in Perth.
Tom Trbojevic scored a hat-trick on his State of Origin return, Josh Addo-Carr grabbed a double, while James Tedesco and James Maloney were both impressive in guiding the Blues to victory.
The Maroons’ only points for the game came through a penalty try to Will Chambers early in the first half.
NSW 38 def QLD 6
The New South Wales Blues will take a virtually unrecognisable team into a do-or-die Game 2 against the Queensland Maroons as State of Origin makes its first trek to Perth. Join The Roar for our live scores and blog from 7:50pm (AEST).
The Blues went down by just four points in the series opener after taking an early lead, but will now need to use unfamiliar combinations to claim victory in an unfamiliar city.
The NRL announced on Friday that Optus Stadium is sold out for Origin 2, and the Blues will be hoping to drum up some support, with Brad Fittler making seven changes for Game 2.
Gone are Cody Walker, Latrell Mitchell, Josh Morris, Angus Crichton and the injured trio of Nick Cotric, Payne Haas and David Klemmer.
The sacking of Mitchell came as the biggest surprise for the Blues, with a completely new and out-of-position centre combo of Tom Trbojevic and Jack Wighton (who was the bench utility in Game 1) selected.
Blake Ferguson is also recalled on the wing, while James Maloney returns to join up with Nathan Cleary in the halves as the Blues look to replicate the 2018’s success.
Daniel Saifiti is the left-field selection to start in the front row, while NSW will run without a bench utility, as Dale Finucane, Tariq Sims and Wade Graham take the three remaining spots.
On the other side of the park, Kevin Walters and his Maroons are a lot more settled, making no unforced changes, with only the injured Jai Arrow and Joe Ofahengaue out. Dylan Napa will start in the front row, with Jai Arrow and Tim Glasby added to the bench.
Their only concerns are around Moses Mbye, who went into anaphylactic shock on Friday, but miraculously is set to play, and Napa, who has a wrist complaint.
Daly Cherry-Evans holds the keys to the Maroons castle through his kicking game, so long as the forwards can match it in the middle third, while Ben Hunt’s passing game – which was questionable in the series opener – also holds importance.
What they do need to do is whether the early storm. The Blues started the last game strongly, but a mix of poor interchange rotations hurt them in the second half.
No Klemmer will lessen the impact they can have in the opening 20 minutes, but the solid Finucane, Graham and Sims should allow them to hold sway in the middle third during the later stages of the game and manage workloads better.
If they can do that and find ways to score, then the classy brilliance of Josh Addo-Carr, James Tedesco and Damien Cook will shine in attack. If that happens, it’s hard to see Queensland being up to the challenge of defending them for 80 minutes.
We will get a decider, folks. There wasn’t a heap between the two sides last time, and this Blues bench looks better than the one which let the side down.
Blues by 4.
Kick-off: 7.50pm (AEST – 5:50pm local)
Venue: Optus Stadium, Perth
TV: Live, Nine Network
Online: Live, 9Now
Betting: Queensland $1.91, New South Wales $1.91
Overall record: Played 115, Queensland 62, New South Wales 51, drawn 2
Game 1: QLD 18 defeated NSW 14 at Suncorp Stadium
Referees: Gerard Sutton and Ashley Klein
New South Wales Blues
1. James Tedesco, 2. Blake Ferguson, 3. Tom Trbojevic, 4. Jack Wighton, 5. Josh Addo-Carr, 6. James Maloney, 7. Nathan Cleary, 8. Daniel Saifiti, 9. Damien Cook, 10. Paul Vaughan, 11. Boyd Cordner (c), 12. Tyson Frizell, 13. Jake Trbojevic
Interchange: 14. Dale Finucane, 15. Tariq Sims, 16. Cameron Murray, 17. Wade Graham
1. Kalyn Ponga, 2. Corey Oates, 3. Michael Morgan, 4. Will Chambers, 5. Dane Gagai, 6. Cameron Munster, 7. Daly Cherry-Evans, 8. Dylan Napa, 9. Ben Hunt, 10. Josh Papalii, 11. Felise Kaufusi, 12. Matt Gillett, 13. Josh McGuire
Interchange: 14. Moses Mbye, 15. Jarrod Wallace, 16. Tim Glasby, 17. David Fifita