NSW coach Brad Fittler has named Nathan Cleary and Tariq Sims for the State of Origin decider, despite both players being in doubt for the clash.
Cleary is attempting to recover in time from an ankle sprain, while Sims will fight to overturn a dangerous contact charge at the NRL judiciary on Tuesday.
David Klemmer was overlooked despite his successful return from a wrist injury over the weekend, although Fittler confirmed he had been placed on standby, should Sims be banned.
The St George Illawarra backrower was set to face a two-game suspension, but will fight a grade two charge for dangerous contact after a late shot on Cowboys’ Michael Morgan from Friday night’s match.
Klemmer was ruled out of game two after it was revealed he played the majority of game one at Lang Park with a fracture in his wrist.
However, the Knights enforcer ran for 205 metres and made a game high 42 tackles as Newcastle beat Brisbane 26-12 on Saturday.
After making seven changes from the side that lost game one in Brisbane, Fittler has kept faith with the side that blew Queensland away in Perth.
Parramatta Eels’ utility Clint Gutherson has been named 18th man.
New South Wales squad
|1. James Tedesco||Sydney Roosters|
|2. Josh Addo-Carr||Melbourne Storm|
|3. Tom Trbojevic||Manly Warringah Sea Eagles|
|4. Jack Wighton||Canberra Raiders|
|5. Blake Ferguson||Parramatta Eels|
|6. James Maloney||Penrith Panthers|
|7. Nathan Cleary||Penrith Panthers|
|8. Daniel Saifiti||Newcastle Knights|
|9. Damien Cook||South Sydney Rabbitohs|
|10. Paul Vaughan||St George Illawarra Dragons|
|11. Tyson Frizell||St George Illawarra Dragons|
|12. Boyd Cordner (c)||Sydney Roosters|
|13. Jake Trbojevic||Manly Warringah Sea Eagles|
|14. Dale Finucane||Melbourne Storm|
|15. Tariq Sims||St George Illawarra Dragons|
|16. Cameron Murray||South Sydney Rabbitohs|
|17. Wade Graham||Cronulla Sutherland Sharks|
|18. Clint Gutherson||Parramatta Eels|
Coach: Brad Fittler
Ponga out injured as Walters wields selection axe
Injury-hit Queensland has named Corey Norman and Christian Welch to make their State of Origin debut in the series decider in Sydney on July 10.
Maroons coach Kevin Walters on Monday named a game-three squad in alphabetical order, casting some doubt as to who would feature in what position.
Who would run out at fullback is of particular focus after incumbent Kalyn Ponga suffered a calf injury and was ruled out.
Walters said he had already decided who would wear the number one jersey but would not make it official until after he told the player, saying he was not short of options, nominating Norman, Michael Morgan, Cameron Munster and Moses Mbye as fullback contenders.
“There is a list a mile long,” Walters said.
“We are very fortunate in that department that we have a lot of great and talented players that will do the job for Queensland.
“Whichever player is given the jersey, he will get the job done.”
Despite the speculation, St George Illawarra’s Norman is tipped to feature in the halves in a reshuffled backline.
Queensland will also have a new-look pack, with Brisbane’s Joe Ofahengaue returning from a knee injury and Melbourne prop Welch to make his debut.
Canterbury’s Dylan Napa and the Gold Coast’s Jarrod Wallace have been dropped.
Norman is tipped to partner captain Daly Cherry-Evans in the halves, capping a remarkable turnaround for the 27-year-old.
He was on the Origin outer after being fined $20,000 and suspended for the final eight weeks of the 2016 season for a string of offences — including pleading guilty to drug possession, although his conviction was overturned on appeal.
But Norman has hit top form since moving from Parramatta to the Dragons this season, earning him his first Origin nod after 180 NRL games since his 2010 debut.
“That [Norman’s past] is irrelevant. Corey is that type of player, I think the bigger the occasion the better he will go,” Walters said.
Welch, 24, is expected to make his Origin debut off the bench, replacing Wallace.
Ofahengaue returns to the team after missing Queensland’s 38-6 loss to NSW with a knee gash and is tipped to replace Napa in the starting front row.
Bulldogs enforcer Napa appears to be an unlucky omission.
He overcame a broken wrist to start for Queensland in game two but was limited to just 23 minutes game time by Walters.
Napa and Wallace paid the price for the Queensland pack’s underwhelming game two display in which just one Maroons forward — back rower Felise Kaufusi — ran for 100 metres.
Walters was still confident Queensland could seal their 12th series in 14 years.
The Maroons have won the last two series deciders in Sydney — in 2008 and 2013.
|Will Chambers||Melbourne Storm|
|Daly Cherry-Evans (c)||Manly Warringah Sea Eagles|
|David Fifita||Brisbane Broncos|
|Dane Gagai||South Sydney Rabbitohs|
|Matt Gillett||Brisbane Broncos|
|Tim Glasby||Newcastle Knights|
|Ben Hunt||St George Illawarra Dragons|
|Felise Kaufusi||Melbourne Storm|
|Moses Mbye||Wests Tigers|
|Josh McGuire||North Queensland Cowboys|
|Michael Morgan||North Queensland Cowboys|
|Cameron Munster||Melbourne Storm|
|Corey Norman||St George Illawarra Dragons|
|Corey Oates||Brisbane Broncos|
|Joe Ofahengaue||Brisbane Broncos|
|Josh Papalii||Canberra Raiders|
|Christian Welch||Melbourne Storm|
Coach: Kevin Walters