BRISBANE, AUSTRALIA - JUNE 05: Kalyn Ponga of the Maroons passes during game one of the 2019 State of Origin series between the Queensland Maroons and the New South Wales Blues at Suncorp Stadium on June 05, 2019 in Brisbane, Australia. (Photo by Chris Hyde/Getty Images)
Paul Green has announced big changes to his team for State of Origin Game 3, as the Queensland Maroons look to avoid their first clean sweep since 2000.
After going down in Game 1 and 2 by a combined score of 76 to 6, coach Green has axed underperforming players Kyle Fledt and
Andrew McCullough, while Francis Molo is only included among the reserves. Kalyn Ponga, who successfully completed his first NRL game in the Knights' rout of the Cowboys on Saturday night, has been named to come straight back into the team at fullback.
Valentine Holmes onto the wing, with Feldt making way.
New South Wales Blues team for Game 3
Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow is also into the side, named to debut for his state in the centres. It means Kurt Capewell, who was burnt badly on the edge in both of the first two games, will shift back to a familiar second row role. Tino Fa’asuamaleaui has then been named to come from the interchange bench, with Jai Arrow moved to lock.
PERTH, AUSTRALIA - FEBRUARY 15: Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow of the Cowboys scores a try during Day 2 of the 2020 NRL Nines at HBF Stadium on February 15, 2020 in Perth, Australia. (Photo by Will Russell/Getty Images)
Ben Hunt has been promoted to start at hooker, allowing for AJ Brimson to be added to the team at number 14. The bench is rounded out once again by David Fifita and Moeaki Fotuaika.
Kurt Mann and Thomas Flegler have been picked by Queensland to round out the reserves list alongside the dropped Molo.
Game 3 is set to be played next Wednesday, with the venue still unconfirmed by the NRL owing to the Sydney COVID breakout.
Queensland Maroons team for Game 3
1. Kalyn Ponga
2. Valentine Holmes
3. Dane Gagai
4. Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow
5. Xavier Coates
6. Cameron Munster
7. Daly Cherry-Evans
8. Christian Welch
9. Ben Hunt
10. Josh Papalii
11. Kurt Capewell
12. Felise Kaufusi
13. Jai Arrow
14. AJ Brimson
15. Tino Fa'asuamaleaui
16. Moeaki Fotuaika
17. David Fifita
18. Francis Molo
19. Kurt Mann
20. Thomas Flegler