Both Queensland and New South Wales selectors have announced their teams for the 2014 Rugby League State of Origin Series Game 2, to be held at Sydney’s ANZ Stadium on June 18th.
With each state suffering notable injury blows from the teams the played out a hard-fought 12-8 match that fell in the Blues’ favour in State of Origin game 1, several changes to both Queensland and New South Wales have been imminent and confirmed this week.
A possibility to suffer several huge blows to their chances of pushing the 2014 State of Origin series to a decider, Queensland has selected an initial 22-man squad for game 2, with five players to drop off the list over the coming days as final injury tolls become more-clear.
With regular halfback Cooper Cronk ruled out of the remainder of the 2014 State of Origin series after breaking his arm early in game 1, Sea Eagles number 7 Daly Cherry-Evans is in line to claim the vacant position but may also be unable to take to the field as a result of a niggling ankle injury of his own, in which case Brisbane half Ben Hunt will make his Maroons debut.
A similar story is currently plaguing the Queensland number 1 jersey, with regular choice Billy Slater only a 50% chance of recovering from an ankle issue aggravated during game 1 and obvious replacement Greg Inglis also on the casualties list from an awkward tackle in South Sydney’s gutsy win over the Warriors in Perth over the weekend.
In the case both players are unavailable for selection, in-form Canberra Raiders youngster Anthony Milford is likely to take a position on the wing, with Darius Boyd pushing to fullback and in-form Melbourne Storm centre Will Chambers taking up a position on the left edge.
Queensland selector Des Morris said he is happy with the 22-man squad named for Queensland’s assault on Game 2, and while not ideal, is confident the young debutants will get the job done if required.
“We want them to get the experience, but their form has dictated that they should be there, that they should be given an opportunity,” Morris told the Sydney Morning Herald.
“We don’t want a disrupted camp where players are coming and going and nobody knows what’s going on.”
Queensland 22-Man Squad for State of Origin Game 2
Billy Slater, Darius Boyd, Justin Hodges, Greg Inglis, Brent Tate, Johnathan Thurston, Daly Cherry-Evans, Matt Scott, Cameron Smith (c), Nate Myles, Sam Thaiday, Chris McQueen, Corey Parker, Ben Te’o, Matt Gillett, Aidan Guerra, Josh Papalii, Ben Hunt, Will Chambers, Willie Tonga, Jacob Lillyman, Anthony Milford (five to be excluded).
For New South Wales, just three changes have been made to the team that secured a rare game 1 victory north of the border two weeks ago.
Arguably two of the Blues’ strongest performers in Game 1, twins Brett and Josh Morris have been forced from the team with injury, allowing former fullback Josh Dugan to take up a position in the centres, while in-form Parramatta Eels back Will Hopoate has been confirmed for just his second appearance for New South Wales.
As expected, Blues enforcer Greg Bird has returned to the Origin fold after missing game 1 due to suspension, with bench option Tony Williams the unlucky casualty.
Coach Laurie Daley is expecting a typically spirited fight from Queensland as they seek to level the 2014 State Of Origin series next Wednesday, but believes the Blues have selected the right team to break their current drought of eight-consecutive years without a series victory.
“We’ve given an opportunity to a couple of guys who have played Origin before,” Daley said.
“Duges Is playing really good football with the Dragons and Will Hopoate has spent a couple of years out of the game, but his displays this year have been great and we believe they will get the job done on Wednesday week.”
NSW Team for 2014 State of Origin Game 2
Jarryd Hayne, Will Hopoate, Josh Dugan, Michael Jennings, Daniel Tupou, Josh Reynolds, Trent Hodkinson, Paul Gallen, Robbie Farah, Aaron Woods, Ryan Hoffman, Beau Scott, Greg Bird.
Interchange: James Tamou, Anthnoy Watmough, Trent Merrin, Luke Lewis.
Harbouring many key injury concerns leading into 2014 State of Origin Game 2, Queensland are currently featured as clear outsiders to get their campaign back on track in just over one week; offered at generous $2.40 odds for success at leading online bookie Ladbrokes.com.au, while New South Wales can be taken at $1.57 to claim game 2 and the 2014 State of Origin series.