NEWCASTLE, AUSTRALIA - MAY 24: Mitchell Pearce of the Newcastle Knights in action during the round 11 NRL match between the Newcastle Knights and the Sydney Roosters at McDonald Jones Stadium on May 24, 2019 in Newcastle, Australia. (Photo by Tony Feder/Getty Images)

Despite leading 8-0 at halftime, and even having a chance to steal it late, the Blues were outplayed last Wednesday night.

The four-point loss will cause concern in that, historically, it’s very difficult to come back from 1-0 down to win the series.

That said, the Blues were easily outclassed yet only lost by four. This was on the back of scrambling defence and pure heart.

I have no doubt that Brad Fittler will opt for changes for the do or die clash but I think calls for five or more changes may be an overreaction.

Below we take a look at the possible changes and the players most under threat.

Klemmer Replacement:

One enforced change comes after a wrist injury to the Blues’ best forward in game one in David Klemmer.

Vaughan and Haas will almost certainly retain their jerseys to be joined by one of a number of contenders.

RCG and Matt Prior got the job done when called upon in 2018 and seem to be dominating discussions.

Jordan McLean is probably the obvious choice given his efforts for the national side late last year.

The names Lodge and even Dale Finucane have been mentioned. The thinking being that Finucane can play at 13 with Jurbo shifting to prop.

I can’t see Freddy throwing to a rep debutant prop into such a massive game and I expect to see McLean or RCG named but I wouldn’t begrudge Finucane a debut.

Halves Combination:

The biggest question to be answered is whether Freddy sticks with the Origin One halves pairing for game two.

My guess is that there will be one change, and unfortunately, I believe it will be the wrong one.

Neither half had a great game in Origin One. Neither stunk up the joint but with the game on the line Cleary and Walker failed to stamp their authority.

I wouldn’t start Jack Wighton.

You’d imagine that if Keary were available he would walk in but injury has ended his Origin dream this series.

The Blues were crying out for Adam Reynolds and his kicking game but alas his series ended before it could start.

I never thought I’d see the day but Mitchell Pearce will be there for Origin two and it will be to partner either Cleary or Maloney.

I’d be shocked if Cleary isn’t chosen, but I’d certainly be looking elsewhere myself.

Pearce and Cleary, over to you … Yikes!

Turbo In!?:

For me there is no question here, Tommy Turbo comes straight back into the side following his return from injury.

The only question is whether he lines up in the centres or on the wing.

Josh Morris played well in game one after being called out of retirement to play out of position. He scored the first try and threatened all night.

Nick Cotric was fairly quiet but certainly didn’t let anyone down on his debut from the wing.

Turbo starred on the wing in last year’s series and was a genuine difference maker but he was just as dangerous when asked to play centre for the Kangaroos.

The decision may come down to the future or now. Do you run with a Turbo-Cotric right side knowing it could form a long-term combination?

Or do you to with experience and play Morris and put Tommy on the wing?

If I were making the decision it would come down to the answer to one question; where would Tom get more ball?

I’d get very tempted to slot him into the centres and get him early ball all night.

Bench Make Up:

This is where the other change will surely come, along with Klemmer being replaced.

Fittler did not use his bench well in Brisbane … at all.

Cam Murray was electric and will be there while Haas will surely be given a second shot.

Angus Crichton is as good as gone for mine while I’d be playing four forwards.

If Wighton is the option then it’s time to drop this ridiculous idea that every side needs a utility.

Dale Finucane and Ryan Matterson are leading the charge for a bench spot while Wade Graham’s incredible cameo will have Fittler’s attention.

Performances this weekend will decide the bench make up as there’s no absolute stand out.

Wighton out, and two of Crichton, Finucane and Matterson to join Haas and Murray.

It’s too early for Graham and unless Tyrone Peachey has a 10/10 game for the Titans, forget the utility.

Let us know below if you expect, or would make any changes for game two.

3 COMMENTS

  1. Wayne Bennett isn’t stupid(though Siebold is). He rushed James Roberts into his starting side & so should Freddy. But smallish fast backs require go forward & Freddy doesn’t have it hence the ‘scrambling defense’. When the starting props left the field it looked like back to the future when Ricky Stuart decided it was a good idea to have a forward pack entirely of ‘mobile’ backrowers. Lots of ‘scrambling defense’ in that series too. We need some large, aggressive behemoths or we’ll get steamrolled and be ‘scrambling’, ie losing, again.

  2. id go:
    Teddy, T.Turbo/Cotric, Morris, L.Mitchell, Addo-Carr
    C.Walker, Maloney
    RCG/McLean, Cook, Vaughan
    Cordner, Murray, Frizell
    Bench: V.Radley, J.Turbo, Haas, RCG/Matterson

    if T.Turbo has a few great games chuck him in, otherwise keep Cotric.
    I’d have Maloney be the organiser and C.Walker use his running game.
    If McLeans fit, he starts otherwise RCG starts, and Haas on the bench. Or RCG/Matterson take the last bench spot
    Murray to start and J.Turbo to come on as prop/2nd row/lock. and Victor to cover hooker or 2nd Row.

    Hope some NSW players put their hand up and have blinders in the next few games. otherwise its QLDs game to lose.

  3. 1: J Tedesco
    2: J Addo Carr
    3: L Mitchell
    4: J Morris
    5: T Turbo
    6: J Maloney
    7: N Cleary
    8: J McLean
    9: D Cook
    10: P Vaughn
    11: B Cordner
    12: T Frizzel
    13: J Turbo

    14: P Hass
    15: T Sims
    16: R Cambell Gillard
    17: C Murray

Comments are closed.