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The State of Origin sides have been named for Game 2 - and Blues fans are blowing up deluxe.
After their shock 16-10 loss to the Maroons in the opener, NSW coach Freddy Fittler has swung the axe in a movement that wreaks of desperation, making a whopping seven changes to his 22-man squad.
Matt Burton has been brought into the centres to replace Kotoni Staggs who was dropped after a rather average debut.
Burton will partner former Penrith Panthers teammate Stephen Crichton in the centres who has been elevated from the bench after Jack Wighton was ruled out with Covid. Burton has been the Bulldogs best this season, and instrumental in their past two wins. He has a HUGE boot on him and it's believed his kicking game will take a lot of pressure off Nathan Cleary.
So basically, the best halfback in the game needs help with his job. His performance in the Blues' loss was terrible and he didn't seem to have the same amount of time or protection that he normally gets in his Penrith games.
Well, I'm certainly glad Brad Fittler didn't panic at the selection table after the Game 1 loss...#StateofOrigin- Brett McKay (@BMcSport) June 19, 2022
Another Bulldog that we all expected to see this time round, though, was Josh Addo-Carr.
The Foxx was surprisingly left out of Origin Game 1, but after a few impressive weeks scoring about 1000 tries, we all assumed that Freddy would admit he was wrong and re-call him. This did not happen.
Daniel Tupou declared his allegiance to NSW over Tonga and Freddy has decided to stick with him on the wing, along with Brian To'o. (Insert brain explosion action HERE).
Freddy named 57 players now and JAC still can't get a look in?- Nathan (@SeaEagleSpur) June 19, 2022
A re-inclusion that has made Blues fans happy is that of Jake Trbojevic, who many were angry about being left out in Sydney. The tough workhorse was missed in the opener and will have a huge impact off the bench.
The rest of the bench is also made up of new faces, with Api Koroisau, Angus Crichton and Siosifa Talakai all getting the nod. After Koroisau's Covid protocol breach last year that saw him sneak a woman - who was not his wife - into Origin camp resulting in a two-match ban and a $50,000 fine, I am really surprised that he has earned a spot. But here we are.
Joseph Suaalii has been named as 18th man and Nicho Hynes keeps his spot on the extended bench. But the rest is full of surprises. Clint Gutherson (hmmm, ok), Jordan McLean (what?) and Victor Radley (hasn't he only played about three minutes this season?) have all been selected to be part of the squad.
Ryan Matterson, Reagan Campbell-Gillard and Tariq Sims have all been given the hook. Totally agree with Sims, but geez, I think Matto and RCG have been really hard done by.
People who think Jordan McLean is a better choice for the Blues than RCG: Brad Fittler, Jordan McLean's mum.- The Cumberland Throw (@EelsTCT) June 19, 2022
People who don't: Everyone else.
And just like after the announcement of the Blues' Game 1 side, I find myself once again wondering what else my mate Reece Robson needs to do to get selected.
Gus Gould expressed his concern that the first NSW side was too 'Pantherised'. Freddy obviously doesn't agree, adding another Panther in Koroisau and an ex-Panther in Burton.
Then we head across to the Queensland side. And there is not much to argue with.
So Fittlers reaction to the criticism that the blues had too many panthers players and played to much like panthers is to pick more panthers players? #origin- JJ Jones (@JJ_JonesWT) June 19, 2022
After a close-to-prefect performance in their Game 1 victory, everyone who is fit and healthy has been re-named. The Maroons' only changes for Game 2 were forced due to injury.
In a huge loss to the side, Reuben Cotter, who was absolutely massive in the series opener, is out with a busted hammy, so Lindsay Collins has been promoted to the front row with Big Tino set to wear number 13. Jai Arrow (another 2021 Origin covid protocol breacher) comes from the reserves onto the bench and Beau Femor comes into the side as a reserve.
Murray Taulagi comes off the reserves list to make his debut on the wing for the injured Xavier Coates, with Corey Oates named in the extended squad. Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow failed his HIA in Friday nights game against Manly, so he has also been replaced on the reserves by Reece Walsh.
The only frustration that seems to be coming from some Queensland fans is them believing the experienced Oates should have been named ahead of young Taulagi in the starting squad. Both have been brilliant for their club sides - time will tell.
How is Oates still not picked- megan foxs burner (@BurnerFoxs) June 19, 2022
The team for Game 2 have been picked. Obviously, a few positions will be moved around, but the names will stay the same. What do you think of the squads?
Want to know what I think? Congratulations Queensland on a series victory.
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