Josh Dugan, Will Hopoate named in New South Wales Origin squad

Dugan has been named at right centre, while Parramatta Eels’ Hopoate is set to start next to him on the wing after Laurie Daley unveiled a 17-man squad that will attempt to secure New South Wales’ first series win since 2005.

Greg Bird returns from suspension to start at loose forward, pushing captain Paul Gallen to prop and James Tamou down to the bench, with Tony Williams dropping out of the squad.

Dugan convinced Daley to select him with a magnificent hat-trick for St George-Illawarra Dragons in their 30-0 win over Cronulla Sharks last Saturday.

“Josh is a footballer and a guy who was close to our best player last year. We’re confident he can handle it,” Daley said.

Hopoate previously played in the 2011 Origin series, but then took time out of the game to focus on missionary work.

And Daley is confident the Parramatta man can cope with the pressure of next Wednesday’s clash at ANZ Stadium in Sydney.

“While he’s been out of the game over the last two years, the games that he’s played this year he hasn’t looked out of place,” Daley added.

“He’s a kid that the more you give him, the more he wants. He’ll handle it well.”

New South Wales squad in full: Jarryd Hayne, Will Hopoate, Josh Dugan, Michael Jennings, Daniel Tupou, Josh Reynolds, Trent Hodkinson, Paul Gallen, Robbie Farah, Aaron Woods, Ryan Hoffman, Beau Scott, Greg Bird. Interchange: James Tamou, Anthony Watmough, Trent Merrin, Luke Lewis.

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