Blues pick Crichton, Finucane

Melbourne Storm forward Dale Finucane in his previous appearance for the Brad Fittler-coached New South Wales Blues. He was named again for the side yesterday. – Getty Images

ROOSTERS forward Angus Crichton and Storm lock Dale Finucane are the new faces in the New South Wales (NSW) 20-man squad for Ampol State of Origin game two.
NSW coach Brad Fittler named an extended squad in alphabetical order last night with Crichton and Finucane among the names.
Fittler has also included 18th man Api Koroisau and Campbell Graham in the squad.
Crichton, who missed the series opener through suspension, joined his Blues teammates in camp yesterday.
Finucane returns to the Blues set-up after playing two of three games in last year’s series.
The off-contract star missed the opening six rounds of the Telstra Premiership with a calf injury but has returned to help Melbourne reach top spot on the ladder in recent weeks.
Panthers forward Liam Martin has retained his spot on the bench after a week of uncertainty and following the withdrawal of Jake Trbojevic.
The New South Wales Blues are otherwise settled ahead of their quest to clinch the series in Brisbane following a dominating 50-6 series-opening display in Townsville.
The squad will travel to Kingscliff today to begin preparations after the increase of Covid-19 cases in Sydney over the past week.
Fittler has the option of promoting Payne Haas to the run-on side to replace Trbojevic at prop with Crichton earning a recall on the bench or slotting straight into the starting second row with Cameron Murray or Tariq Sims heading back to the interchange.
Speaking on Channel Nine’s Sunday Footy Show earlier in the day, Fittler said Finucane’s recent form could not be overlooked.
“What I see now is he’s developing a passing game in the middle,” Fittler said.
“He’s scoring tries through the middle and his defence is always awesome. If you see him off the field, he’s the ultimate professional. I know there are players who look after themselves, but he is better than all of them.
“Getting him in the squad somewhere will be one of my priorities and also going into the future as well.
“That’s how it started last year and the year before, Dale came in as 18th man and ended up playing a big part in what we did.
“It’s great to have him around.”
Trbojevic, who was used a starting prop by Brad Fittler in the Origin I win in Townsville, will be out for at least a fortnight, according to Manly coach Des Hasler.
“He loves his footy Jake and he’s not happy about this.”
Blues: Josh Addo-Carr (Melbourne Storm), Nathan Cleary (vc) (Penrith Panthers), Damien Cook (South Sydney Rabbitohs), Angus Crichton (Sydney Roosters), Dale Finucane (Melbourne Storm), Campbell Graham (South Sydney Rabbitohs), Payne Haas (Brisbane Broncos), Apisai Koroisau (Penrith Panthers), Jarome Luai (Penrith Panthers), Liam Martin (Penrith Panthers), Latrell Mitchell (South Sydney Rabbitohs), Cameron Murray (South Sydney Rabbitohs), Junior Paulo (Parramatta Eels), Daniel Saifiti (Newcastle Knights), Tariq Sims (St George Illawarra Dragons), James Tedesco (c) (Sydney Roosters), Brian To’o (Penrith Panthers), Tom Trbojevic (Manly Warringah Sea Eagles), Jack Wighton (Canberra Raiders), Isaah Yeo (Penrith Panthers). Coach: Brad Fittler. – NRL

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