New South Wales Blues

Blues v Maroons: Best, Keaon to debut; AJ in for Walsh

Having lost seven of the past 11 Origin games and three of the past four series, the Blues have pinned their faith in a new-look side that includes two debutants in Bradman Best and Keaon Koloamatangi and four players recalled to the fold in Cody Walker, Clint Gutherson, Reagan Campbell-Gillard and Jacob Saifiti.

The last time the Blues were on the end of a clean sweep was 2010, the fifth year of the Maroons' incredible eight-year dynasty, and it will take a mighty turnaround from a 32-6 loss in Brisbane to deny Queensland the fifth ever sweep.

New South Wales drops Jarome Luai ahead of dead rubber clash with Queensland

Key points:

  • Penrith's Jarome Luai has been dropped from the New South Wales team for State of Origin III
  • Cody Walker will return, with Keaon Koloamatangi and Bradman Best set to debut as the Blues look to avoid a whitewash
  • Queensland have made just two changes, due to suspension and injury, with Corey Horsburgh to earn his first Maroon jersey

Luai, Hudson Young, Tyson Frizell and Junior Paulo have paid the price for the Blues' hefty loss in Origin II and will not feature in the series finale on July 12 in Sydney.

Maroons v Blues: Potential late changes for both sides

Both sides have been forced into changes due to injury so the line-ups will look vastly different to those took the field in Game One, with the Blues losing star playmaker Nathan Cleary and the Maroons missing forwards Jai Arrow and Tom Gilbert.

The 17 men who take the field for Queensland will have the advantage of doing it on home soil in front of a boisterous Suncorp Stadium crowd, with history showing the Blues face a monumental task to keep the series alive.

Queensland rally late to draw first blood in Origin series opener

The Maroons trailed by two with six minutes left and despite being down a man in the sin-bin, Cameron Munster and Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow combined down the Blues left edge to snatch an unlikely 1-0 series lead.

Tabuai-Fidow, who finished the match with a double, backed up Billy Slater's decision to pick the Dolphins fullback over veteran Dane Gagai with a mammoth effort that included the match-winner.

Mitchell ruled out of Origin

Mitchell will be replaced by 18th man Stephen Crichton and did not travel with the team to Adelaide today while Matt Burton will join the squad as the new 18th Man.

Tom Trbojevic looked strong in his last outing with Manly  to ease any doubts over his fitness while Stephen Crichton joins the camp as 18th Man in place of Campbell Graham. Tevita Pangai Junior has been named to start for his Origin debut but could be a late swap with Junior Paulo, with the veteran prop named on the bench. 

Maroons surge to seal one of their greatest Origin series wins

The Maroons, ranked outsiders on home turf following their Origin II loss in Perth and reeling from the withdrawals of Cameron Munster and Murray Taulagi, shut the Blues out in the second half. 

Maroons fullback Kalyn Ponga responded to critics to put on a masterclass in the second half and come up with the match-winning play after the Blues held a 12-10 lead after 60 minutes. 

His solo effort, and miraculous performances from Ben Hunt and Daly Cherry-Evans, got the Maroons home. 

Burton, Crichton retained in centres for Origin decider

An Australian international from the 2017 Rugby League World Cup, McLean was part of the wider' Blues squad for Game Two and will come into the run-on side alongside Jake Trbojevic at prop for his debut in Game Three.

After a resounding 44-12 win in Perth to level the series, the Blues are otherwise unchanged for the decider in Brisbane. 

Cleary sublime as brilliant Blues level series in Perth

Blues coach Brad Fittler made a number of changes after a first-up loss in Sydney and was vindicated as Matt Burton shone on debut and Jake Trbojevic was immense in his return to the Origin arena.

The series now heads to Brisbane for a decider on July 13 with NSW carrying huge momentum and Billy Slater's Maroons needing to regroup.

Six minutes into the contest it was Maroons flyer Selwyn Cobbo with a chance to open the scoring but he was denied by a great cover tackle from Brian To'o.

Blues v Maroons: Freddy rings changes; Taulagi to debut

Manly warhorse Jake Trbojevic and Rooster Angus Crichton are back in the fold with an eye to curbing the Maroons' dominance around the ruck, while Burton's towering bombs offer a second kicking option to relieve pressure on key playmaker Nathan Cleary.

For the Maroons, the loss of Xavier Coates and Reuben Cotter to injury sees in-form Cowboy Murray Taulagi come in on the wing for his Origin debut and Rabbitohs hard-man Jai Arrow recalled to the squad after missing Game Three last year for disciplinary reasons.

Taulagi, Arrow called into Maroons squad for Game II

Taulagi, who was part of the extended squad for Game One, will replace the injured Xavier Coates as one of two key changes for the Maroons with Reuben Cotter also ruled out with a hamstring injury suffered last weekend.