The New South Wales Blues’ selectors have made three forced changes to the squad that secured their first series win since 2005 for 2014 State Of Origin Game III next Wednesday night, July 9, at Suncorp Stadium.
The Laurie Daley-coached series winners may have wrapped things up in Sydney with a narrow win over the Queensland Maroons, but there’s still one game left to play and the Blues are the $2.45 underdogs at Ladbrokes.com.au to make it a 3 – nil whitewash.
NSW haven’t celebrated a clean sweep in Origin since 2000, and if successful next week they’ll become just the third team to beat the Maroons twice in a series in Brisbane – the first since Phil Gould’s outfit in 1996.
The squad has been hit with a number of injuries over the series this year, but one of those affected returns for the final installment.
Canterbury centre Josh Morris is back to play his first game in six weeks after injuring his knee but staying on for Game I.
He replaces the injured Michael Jennings (back) but his twin brother Brett Morris is still out with a shoulder injury sustained with his heroic Origin I try.
It is Morris’ bravery to stay on with his injury in the first game, and his fight to be fit for the closer, that has impressed Daley.
“Some of the courageous things our players have done will be on tape forever and will be shown forever,” he said.
“People, when they pull on the Blue shirt, that’s what the expectation is going to be.
“He’s enormous for us. He’s a real leader in our team – a real experienced player. To show the courage and commitment he did in game one was phenomenal.”
Also sidelined with an injury is the Eels’ Will Hopoate allowing for Knights’ winger James McManus, who Daley takes a chance on with their form this season a bit hit-and-miss, earning a recall to the representative arena as their replacement.
Having proved their fitness in the Roosters’ loss to Manly last Friday night, Sydney back-rower Boyd Cordner is also back in on the bench for Anthony Watmough.
Cordner hasn’t played in seven weeks but Daley is confident he’s ready to come in when needed with Watmough on a four match ban for a dangerous throw on Nate Myles in Origin II back on June 18.
Joining Cordner on the bench is then North Queensland’s giant James Tamou, Trent Merrin from the Dragons and Sharks stalwart Luke Lewis.
Queensland, who named an extended 19-man squad for Game 3 earlier today, are the $1.57 favourites in State Of Origin betting markets through Ladbrokes.com.au.
Ladbrokes Australia already have over 13 markets open on the game, kicking off at 8:15pm (local), including odds on the margin, points scored and half-time options with more to come over the week!
2014 State Of Origin New South Wales Team – Game 3
1. Jarryd Hayne – (Parramatta Eels)
2. James McManus – (Newcastle Knights)
3. Josh Dugan – (St George Illawarra Dragons)
4. Josh Morris – (Canterbury Bankstown Bulldogs)
5. Daniel Tupou – (Sydney Roosters)
6. Josh Reynolds – (Canterbury Bankstown Bulldogs)
7. Trent Hodkinson – (Canterbury Bankstown Bulldogs)
8. Aaron Woods – (Wests Tigers)
9. Robbie Farah – (Wests Tigers)
10. Paul Gallen – (Cronulla Sutherland Sharks) (c)
11. Ryan Hoffman – (Melbourne Storm)
12. Beau Scott – (Newcastle Knights)
13. Greg Bird – (Gold Coast Titans)
14. James Tamou – (North Queensland Cowboys)
15. Trent Merrin – (St George Illawarra Dragons)
16. Boyd Cordner – (Sydney Roosters)
17. Luke Lewis – (Cronulla Sutherland Sharks)
Coach: Laurie Daley