The NSW Blues are set to pull off a surprise axing before the start of Game 3, with a veteran set to make way for Spencer Leniu.

New South Wales will have until the final hour before kick-off on Wednesday evening to name their final side, with reports indicating that Rabbitohs hooker Damien Cook could be sensationally dropped in a game-day axing.

His axing will allow Penrith Panthers forward Spencer Leniu to move into the final side from 19th man, earning him his State of Origin debut.

The inclusion of Clint Gutherson onto the interchange bench means he can easily play the utility role, and they won't need to play two hookers.

Currently, Damien Cook and Reece Robson are named in the team. However, at club level, both players can easily play the entire 80 minutes and don't need to share duties with one another.

“They say Spencer Leniu is going enormous and although he's picked in jersey No. 19 there's been a bit of speculation,” Phil Rothfield said on NRL 360.


  1. Sounds like Brad’s finally twigged that the announced bench does not provide decent rotation in the forwards. Ah well. Better late than never.

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