New South Wales are set to name Newcastle’s Mitchell Pearce for Origin II, paring him with Nathan Cleary in the halves, according to Fox Sports.
Cleary has come under scrutiny to hold his place in the side as the Blues look to even the series, but he will be named in the No. 6 jersey.
Additionally, the retention of the Panthers youngster means the goal-kicking duties don’t have to be shifted to Latrell Mitchell.
It is understood that Pearce will come in to defend on the left edge in place of Cody Walker, while Cleary will stay on the right edge.
Another player who was touted to be paired with Pearce was Jack Wighton, but the Raiders five-eighth will reportedly hold his place in the side on the interchange.
The Pearce-Cleary pairing is still reliant on the duo getting through round 14 healthy, with injuries proving to be a major obstacle in the Blues camp in the lead up to the series.