New South Wales Boss Brad Fittler has dropped Sydney Roosters star Latrell Mitchell for next week’s must-win State of Origin clash with Queensland.
Defeat at Perth’s Optus Stadium next week would result in the reigning Origin Champions suffering a 12th series defeat in the last 14 years.
A Dane Gagai doubled helped Queensland take a series advantage, with Mitchell sent to the sin-bin during a poor showing at Suncorp Stadium.
Ahead of Sunday’s huge clash, Fittler has rung the changes, with the Australia international among a host of players replaced in the 17-man-squad.
The Lebanon coach said dropping Mitchell was one of the ‘toughest decisions’ he’s had to make, and added that it was purely based on form.
Following what the NRL’s official website described as one of the ‘biggest gambles in State of Origin history’, the Roosters centre scored twice to help his side claim a comfortable victory over the Canterbury Bulldogs.
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Tom Trbojevic and Jack Wighton have been selected over Mitchell and fellow centre Josh Morris for Origin II, while James Maloney returns to partner club team-mate Nathan Cleary in the halves following injury to Mitchell Pearce.
Tariq Sims, brother of Toronto forward Ashton, comes into the side to replace Angus Crichton, while there are also debuts for Melbourne’s Dale Finucane and Newcastle’s Daniel Saifiti.
With David Klemmer and Payne Haas also hampered by injury, Wade Graham and Blake Ferguson return to the fold, while Cody Walker is also left out following Origin I.
For Queensland, Kevin Walters makes two enforced changes, with Jarrod Wallace and Tim Glasby replacing the injured duo of Joe Ofahengaue and Jai Arrow.