NSW turns to Canterbury Bulldogs’ halves for Origin I
Daley stuck solid with Pearce and Maloney throughout last year’s losing series but has seen enough of the Bulldogs’ halves to believe they are now the future for a Blues side chasing a first series win in nine years.
Towering Roosters winger Daniel Tupou has won the vacant wing spot ahead of robust Manly winger Jorge Taufua.
Tony Williams, Anthony Watmough, Trent Merrin and Luke Lewis make up the bench
Daley took Pearce’s arrest and one-game suspension following a boozy night out in the eastern suburbs into account, while the halfback’s return of four Origin wins in 12 appearances also weighed heavily against him.
NSW’s coach was keen to stick with a tested club combination and has been impressed with what Reynolds and Hodkinson have done in guiding the Dogs to the top of the table.
Canterbury coach and former Origin great Des Hasler declared Hodkinson and Reynolds perfectly suited to the Origin cauldron.
“Origin is the pinnacle for any young player…a State of Origin jersey is the greatest thing so I hope they get that opportunity,” he said.
“There is no doubt they would be up to the challenge. They wouldn’t let anyone down.”
The Blues squad was unveiled by Premier Mike Baird at Sydney’s Hilton Hotel on Tuesday morning.
The series opener will be played at Suncorp Stadium on May 28, with Queensland at full strength apart from the loss of veteran forward Sam Thaiday.
The Blues squad is: Jarryd Hayne, Brett Morris, Michael Jennings, Josh Morris, Daniel Tupou, Josh Reynolds, Trent Hodkinson, Aaron Woods, Ryan Hoffman, Beau Scott, Paul Gallen, Robbie Farah, James Tamou.
Interchange: Tony Williams, Anthony Watmough, Trent Merrin, Luke lewis
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