NRL Rd 16 - Eels v Rabbitohs
SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - AUGUST 27: Latrell Mitchell of the Rabbitohs looks on during the round 16 NRL match between the Parramatta Eels and the South Sydney Rabbitohs at Bankwest Stadium on August 27, 2020 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

Brad Fittler has silenced his critics after a massive Game 2 bounce back for the Blues, but that doesn't mean the selection headaches will get any easier for Freddy.

A mixture of injuries, suspensions and availability issues have forced the Blues to play with two different centres, a new starting hooker and utility between Game 1 and 2, leaving some monster calls for Fittler ahead of the decider at Suncorp Stadium in a fortnight.

After starting the first game with Jack Wighton and Kotoni Staggs in as the three-quarters, with Damien Cook the hooker and Stephen Crichton the utility, the opening game loss forced Fittler's hand.

Matt Burton was outstanding in the centres alongside Stephen Crichton last night, while Api Koroisau got the hooking role with Cook benched after Jack Wighton tested positive for COVID.

However, with Wighton overcoming his illness and Latrell Mitchell finally fit to return, it leaves Freddy with six players to fit into four spots - and just one round of club football left to make the big calls ahead of Game 3 at Suncorp.

It leaves a six-horse race between Latrell Mitchell, Stephen Crichton, Jack Wighton, Matt Burton, Api Koroisau and Damien Cook to fill the hooker, utility and both centre roles, and none of them have made it an easy choice for the three-time series-winning coach.

Only Nathan Cleary and James Tedesco were better than Burton for the Blues in their Game 2 square up, one of the finer debuts in Blues history, especially considering the Bulldogs five-eighth hasn't played centre for nearly nine months. The dilemma lies with Latrell, who has never played right centre in his career, and nor has Burton.

Add in Jack Wighton who was New South Wales' best in a tough Game I defeat, and you've got a real battle.

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - JULY 10: Jack Wighton of the Blues runs with the ball during game three of the 2019 State of Origin series between the New South Wales Blues and the QueenslandMaroons at ANZ Stadium on July 10, 2019 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Matt King/Getty Images)

It'd be easy to drop Api Koroisau and play Damien Cook for 80 minutes, however Koroisau soaked up the first half-hour of play, which allowed Cook to come on fresh against tiring forwards. The tandem hooker combination, while it was initially reactive to Queensland's Harry Grant-Ben Hunt duo, worked a treat, and must stay for Game 3.

Which leaves Crichton, Mitchell, Burton and Wighton fighting it out to see who wears the three, who wears the four, and who watches the decider from their living room.

Burton is a must-pick, he was dynamic on the left edge playing alongside Jarome Luai, Brian To'o and Liam Martin, all of which he won the 2021 premiership alongside.

Mitchell is the great unknown for NSW, he was up there with Tom Trbojevic as the state's best player in 2021, but hasn't played any footy since early April.

A move to the right would reunite Latrell with Daniel Tupou, who he won two premierships playing inside of, and play outside clubland teammate Cameron Murray. A side-switch also allows the team to keep that Penrith combination on the left edge.

While losing out on a spot to someone who has featured in just four games this year is a tough pill to swallow, there is no doubt that Freddy would come under immense scrutiny if he didn't select Latrell and the Blues went on to lose the decider.

He is arguably the state's best strike weapon bar 'Turbo', and his impact to this side could well be the deciding factor between a win and a loss.

Latrell will have one game to prove himself, a clash with Parramatta on Saturday night, just his fifth game in eight months, but a strong showing from either Stephen Crichton against the Roosters or Jack Wighton against the Dragons could tip the scales back in their favour.

Fittler won't have long to make up his mind, with the New South Wales Game 3 squad set to be announced this Sunday night.