RUGBY LEAGUE: Blues coach Laurie Daley has largely stuck solid with his team that lost Origin II last month, but fullback Matt Moylan would have every right to feel disappointed.
Moylan was left out of the 20-man squad – which included development players Bryce Cartwright and Jake and Tom Trbojevic – altogether for game three at ANZ Stadium next Wednesday night.
That was despite the Panthers custodian showing some nice touches in the Blues’ 6-4 and 26-16 losses in this year’s series.
Tigers fullback James Tedesco – in sizzling form this year – was preferred in the No.1 jersey, with 21-year-old Sharks gun Jack Bird edging out Moylan for the bench utility role.
Fellow Cronulla stand-out Wade Graham will make his Origin debut in the second row, which will push arguably the Blues’ best player from game two – Tyson Frizell – to lock.
Winger Blake Ferguson and centre Michael Jennings can feel fortunate to hold their spots after failing to fire in game two, while prop and captain Paul Gallen will get an Origin farewell in front of his home fans.
Fellow veteran and “Bruise Brother” Greg Bird won’t get that chance after Frizell’s strong debut last month.
Dragons fullback Josh Dugan will make his return to interstate football in the centres – in place of Dylan Walker – after an elbow injury.
“I’m really excited for the guys who have got their opportunities and it’s disappointing for the guys that have missed out,” Daley said.
“But I think the guys who have come into the team deserve their spots and hopefully they’ll play as well as what they’ve been doing for their clubs.
“There’s no such thing as a dead rubber. We need to come out and give a good performance for our supporters.”