Blues coach Laurie Daley has hung the Origin hook out, revealing the injured Boyd Cordner’s starting spot was still up for grabs for the player who shines this weekend.
Daley ruled out tossing young Panthers utility Bryce Cartwright into a fiery return game at Suncorp Stadium on Wednesday week when the series will be on the line following a 6-4 loss in Sydney.
But he has left the door open for several players to put their hand up in round 14. “Obviously we need a replacement for Boyd, he was our player’s player and deservedly so,” Daley said. “He’s a massive loss and he’s a leader in our team.
“I don’t think Bryce (Cartwright) is quite ready to start an Origin game just yet.
“That’s just my opinion at the moment.
“It certainly wouldn’t worry me if I had to pick him as that fourth option on the bench because he is someone that can create.”
Daley said Warriors back-rower Ryan Hoffman was unlucky to miss out on game one and would boost the Blues’ experience, while Sharks forward Wade Graham and Dragons back-rower Tyson Frizzle could both play left edge.
And Daley didn’t dismiss promoting Titans hit-man Greg Bird to fill Cordner’s role and bringing a new player on to the bench.
The Blues coach will base his final decision on which player he believes will cope with the Suncorp Stadium hostility and the must-win pressure of the night.
“Whoever it is you have to be confident the player you select will handle the atmosphere in the cauldron of Lang Park (Suncorp Stadium) because it is a very different environment up there,” Daley said.
Calls for exciting Wests Tigers fullback James Tedesco to be drafted into the side after his return from injury last week may fall on deaf ears.
Daley is as loyal as they come and certain to stick with Penrith rookie Matt Moylan, who, despite a few handling errors under the high ball, looked one of NSW’s most dangerous players in Sydney.
Queensland coach Kevin Walters admitted after the two-point victory in Sydney last week he and the Maroons coaching staff had put a lot of work into defending Moylan.
“We did a lot of work around Moylan before the first game because he brings a different element to the game with his skill at the back,” he said.
“They (NSW) haven’t had that type of player since Jarryd Hayne left a few years ago. Tedesco is probably a little quicker his skills are also supreme.”
Queensland will name its 17-man squad on Monday before venturing to Gladstone on Tuesday for their annual “fan day” before going into camp on the Gold Coast on Wednesday looking to wrap up their 10th series in 11 years.
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