SYDNEY: The New South Wales (NSW) Blues will play the State of Origin decider without the services of Payne Haas after the Broncos prop was ruled out of game three yesterday.
Haas, who has been battling a recurring acromioclavicular joint issue all season, played in the Broncos’ 26-40 defeat to the Cowboys on Saturday.
But he has since re-aggravated the shoulder injury and won’t feature in the decider at Suncorp Stadium on July 13.
Blues coach Brad Fittler will instead hand a debut to Cowboys veteran Jordan McLean, who has yet to play State of Origin despite winning eight caps for Australia.
In the only other change to the NSW side announced yesterday, Fittler has opted to recall Jack Wighton. However the Canberra five-eighth will have to make do with being the Blues’ 18th man after missing game two due to a positive Coronavirus test.
Despite Latrell Mitchell withdrawing from contention, Wighton has been unable to dislodge Matt Burton and Stephen Crichton in the centres.
On Sunday, NSW legend Andrew Johns said: “Jack was NSW’s best player in game one by a mile but unfortunately for Jack, Matt Burton has gone in that position.
“Jack will be in the 17 somewhere. I doubt Jack could play on the right side for Crichton and I don’t think you can change that team.”
Cronulla utility Siosifa Talakai has also retained his spot on the bench, while Fittler has opted to stick with Api Koroisau as his starting hooker with Damien Cook coming off from the bench.
The uncapped trio of Nicho Hynes, Jacob Saifiti and Reece Robson round out the extended squad with Parramatta’s Clint Gutherson.
Blues: James Tedesco (captain) (Sydney Roosters), Brian To’o (Penrith Panthers), Matt Burton (Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs), Stephen Crichton (Panthers), Daniel Tupou (Roosters), Jarome Luai (Panthers), Nathan Cleary (Panthers), Jordan McLean (North Queensland Cowboys), Apisai Koroisau (Panthers), Jake Trbojevic (Manly Sea Eagles), Cameron Murray (South Sydney Rabbitohs) Liam Martin (Panthers), Isaah Yeo (Panthers), Damien Cook (Rabbitohs), Angus Crichton (Roosters), Junior Paulo (Parramatta Eels), Siosifa Talakai (Cronulla Sharks), Jack Wighton (Canberra Raiders), Nicho Hynes (Sharks), Clint Gutherson (Eels), Jacob Saifiti (Newcastle Knights), Reece Robson (Cowboys).
— Yahoo Sports
Raiders refuse to debate controversial moment in loss
SYDNEY: Canberra coach Ricky Stuart refused to condemn referee Peter Gough after the Raiders were denied a penalty in front of the goalposts in the dying moments of their 10-12 loss to the St George Illawarra Dragons on Sunday.
Joe Tapine was tackled five metres out from the St George Illawarra line with six seconds left but Dragons utility Jack Bird and captain Ben Hunt deliberately laid over the top of the Raiders prop.
While signalling a six-again to restart the tackle count, Gough failed to award Canberra a penalty to potentially tie the game up when Hunt dashed out from marker from an offside position to shut down Raiders hooker Tom Starling and end the game.
The victory in front of 7,069 fans at Wollongong’s WIN Stadium on Sunday moves the Dragons into eighth spot and leaves the Raiders languishing four points behind them in 11th.
“I’ve only seen it once and I only need to see it once,” a tight-lipped Stuart said after the match.
“I’ll get an apology or I’ll get justification of there not being a penalty.
“We set ourselves up to win that game with a really tough grind.”
Raiders captain Elliott Whitehead was seen remonstrating with Gough at fulltime but his appeals fell on deaf ears.
“I best not make a comment because it will come back on me,” Whitehead said.
“It should not come down to that (last play), we’re a better team than that. We let ourselves down and made too many errors.”
Raiders five-eighth Jack Wighton struggled to impose himself on the game — his first since missing State of Origin game two due to the Coronavirus — making four errors and enduring a torrid time with the boot in wet conditions.
The 29-year-old gifted the Dragons their first try of the afternoon when he tapped a short dropout back into the hands of Talatau Amone and also failed to make touch from a penalty kick.
Amone’s 18th minute try and one on the stroke of halftime to Moses Suli were enough to get the Dragons home.
Xavier Savage scored in the first half for Canberra with Hudson Young making it 10-12 in the 54th minute.
Wighton’s errors proved costly for Canberra’s hopes of getting a winner but they did get one last crack at the Dragons’ line, only for Hunt and Bird to slow Tapine down and kill the game.
— 7 News
Maroons to debut Gilbert, Nanai to start
BRISBANE: The Queensland Maroons confirmed their squad for State of Origin against the New South Wales Blues with Cowboys forward Tom Gilbert named in the series decider.
With experienced second rower Felise Kaufusi unavailable for family reasons, Maroons selectors have called in North Queensland enforcer Gilbert.
Gilbert has been named on the interchange bench, with fellow Cowboy Jeremiah Nanai promoted to the starting side in Kaufusi’s absence. Maroons selectors have also added Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow (Cowboys) and Sam Walker (Roosters) to the squad.
The Maroons were dominated in a 12-44 loss in game two, where they had the chance to seal the series after an upset 16-10 victory in Sydney.
Maroons coach Billy Slater resisted any urge to tinker with his pack, or his youthful backline for the Suncorp Stadium clash next week.
Josh Papalii is again set to start in the front row. Wingers Murray Taulagi and Selwyn Cobbo have retained their spots, while back-rower Nanai gets his chance to start after two quiet games for Queensland off the bench this series.
Cameron Munster (shoulder) and Kalyn Ponga (concussion) have both been named after missing games for their clubs over the weekend.
Maroons: Kalyn Ponga (Newcastle Knights), Selwyn Cobbo (Brisbane Broncos), Valentine Holmes (North Queensland Cowboys), Dane Gagai (Newcastle Knights), Murray Taulagi (Cowboys), Cameron Munster (Melbourne Storm), Daly Cherry-Evans (captain) (Manly Sea Eagles), Lindsay Collins (Sydney Roosters), Ben Hunt (St George Illawarra Dragons), Josh Papalii (Canberra Raiders), Kurt Capewell (Broncos), Jeremiah Nanai (Cowboys), Tino Fa’asuamaleaui (Gold Coast Titans), Harry Grant (Storm), Jai Arrow (South Sydney Rabbitohs), Patrick Carrigan (Broncos), Tom Gilbert (Cowboys) Thomas Flegler (Broncos), Tom Dearden (Cowboys), Beau Fermor (Titans), Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow (Cowboys), Sam Walker (Roosters).