With a must win game on the horizon, NSW coach Michael Maguire has a number of series defining selection decisions ahead of him.

The Blues will name their squad for Game 2 on Sunday night and it's almost inevitable that there will be changes.

Dylan Edwards will surely make his Origin debut after missing the opener due to injury. Latrell Mitchell seems to be front runner for the vacant centre spot.

I wouldn't be shocked to see Cameron Murray rushed in at the expense of Cameron McInnes, while the bench is set for a much needed shakeup.

Nicho Hynes looks set to surrender his number seven jersey to either Mitchell Moses or Jarome Luai, with Matt Burton potentially slotting in at six.

Simply put, Michael Maguire and the entire state of New South Wales are looking for a saviour.

2024 State of Origin Series Launch
MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - APRIL 16: NSW Blues head coach Michael Maguire poses for a photograph during the 2024 State of Origin Series Launch at Melbourne Cricket Ground on April 16, 2024 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Daniel Pockett/Getty Images)

The aforementioned Edwards and Mitchell shape as the most likely to break the game over for the desperate Blues, but I believe the potential saviour comes in a very unlikely form.

Connor Watson.

I fully appreciate the absurdity of calling a potential debutant the "saviour" but I truly believe he is as close to a must select as anyone else named previously.

The Blues got their bench wrong in Game 1.

Of course no one saw a centre being sent off inside ten minutes but there was no one on the bench capable of filling in anywhere other than a middle or edge role.

Even if a specialist centre had been named for the opener, there is no chance NSW copped anything other than a loss.

That said, there was nowhere to move. Nowhere to even try to save the game.

A utility player must be selected on Sunday night and there is no player better suited to the role than Watson.

Named at hooker for the Roosters this weekend, Watson is a big body and is in blistering form despite his recent injury.

He could start on Wednesday week and take care of the rough stuff, allowing either Reece Robson or a returning Apisai Koroisau to wreak havoc late in the first half.

Robson played very well in the opener and certainly does not deserve to lose his spot.

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - MAY 28: Reece Robson of the Blues poses during a New South Wales Blues State of Origin media opportunity at NSWRL Centre of Excellence on May 28, 2024 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Matt King/Getty Images)

That said, I don't think anyone would argue that Koroisau is the most dangerous attacking threat at dummy half. I genuinely believe he was overlooked for Game 1 due to his inability to play 80 minutes at rep level.

Robson could start with Watson coming in either at nine, 13, or out wide as situation dictates.

The fact Watson could play centre, in the halves, at hooker or anywhere in the forward pack, makes him supremely important.

His role extends far beyond the "what if" player though.

His form warrants selection. Truthfully I thought he was an absolute lock heading into Game 1, prior to suffering an injury that ruled him out.

I was expecting the aforementioned Koroisau and Watson one-two punch. I'd run with that next week, even at the expense of the unlucky Robson.

Queensland copped a bit of grief, from myself included, about leaving David Fifita out to bring Selwyn Cobbo in.

It proved a masterstroke as Cobbo's move into the centres allowed Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow to destroy the Blues from fullback.

Queensland carried a Plan B. NSW did not.

NSW v QLD - State of Origin Game 2
PERTH, AUSTRALIA - JUNE 26: Selwyn Cobbo of the Maroons is tackled by Nathan Cleary of the Blues during game two of the State of Origin series between New South Wales Blues and Queensland Maroons at Optus Stadium, on June 26, 2022, in Perth, Australia. (Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)

Again though, Watson is far more than a Plan B.

Fans, pundits and coaches talk about "Origin players" all the time. Connor Watson is an Origin player!

He's big, he's aggressive, he produces a huge workload, and he can go all night! Literally the definition of an "Origin player"!

Watson even adds a new dimension in terms of another option in the kicking game.

Edwards is a magnificent fullback, as is James Tedesco, but neither are noted kickers.

The Blues halves got swamped in the opener. Watson can take some pressure off them if needed.

His role at the Roosters hasn't required a large amount of boot to ball action but his role in the halves previously has him well placed to produce if called upon.

Honestly, and I'm sure someone will flock to the comments to point it out, but I can't see any negative in naming the Roosters utility in the 17.

Putting aside the horror show that was Origin 1, I don't think there's a whole lot between the two squads named previously.

I had QLD as comfortable favourites but a few bounces of the ball, a big home crowd, a moment of magic, and I could see a NSW route to victory.

The Blues squad absolutely needs to tweaks to match the Maroons in neutral territory.

Latrell Mitchell, Cameron Murray and Dylan Edwards are surely now near automatic selections.

2023 State of Origin - NSW v QLD: Game 3
SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - JULY 12: Bradman Best of the Blues celebrates scoring a try with Cameron Murray of the Blues during game three of the State of Origin series between New South Wales Blues and Queensland Maroons at Accor Stadium on July 12, 2023 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Brendon Thorne/Getty Images)

In my view though, the easiest decision of all is to name Connor Watson in the 14 jersey.

Whether you start him on the night or bring him off the bench? I can be talked into either option.

What I cannot be talked into though is naming a 17 that doesn't include the potential saviour for the once mighty NSW Blues in 28 year-old Dubbo boy, Connor Watson.