Two sleeps until the last game of rugby league in Australia for 2020 with the Maroons set to host the Blues in a do or die Origin decider at Suncorp Stadium.
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LEGENDS BACK FITTLER’S PAPENHUYZEN SNUB
Blues greats Peter Sterling and Paul Gallen have backed NSW coach Brad Fittler’s decision not to blood Ryan Papenhuyzen as a debutant in Game III.
The Clive Churchill Medal winner was in Fittler’s plans after inspiring the Storm to premiership glory, but a calf injury rubbed him out for the first two Origins.
Fittler chose to keep faith with the 17 that got the job done in Game II, with Papenhuyzen having to settle for a spot in the reserves and Sterling believes it is the right call.
“There’s no need to change,” Sterling told Wide World of Sports’ The Blueprint.
“The interesting consideration again was the bench – If Ryan Papenhuyzen was available, do you put him in there to cover the backline?
“The key man there is Isaah Yeo who can slot into the centres if needed. Not ideally, but he will get a job done for you.
Ryan Papenhuyzen has been named in the Blues reserves.Source:News Corp Australia
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“He gives you the flexibility to have the other forwards there.”
There is no doubting Papenhuyzen’s speed would be a valuable commodity off the bench for the Blues, but blooding a debutant in a decider is a massive call, especially when it would change the winning formula from the last match.
Gallen believes the versatility of a number of Blues backline stars enables Fittler to carry four forwards on his bench.
“They’ve got enough in that backline,” Gallen said.
“Guys like Clint Gutherson and Jack Wighton can transfer to the halves or fullback if they need to. Even the wing if Gutherson needed to.
“And as Sterling said, Isaah Yeo can fill in any other one of those spots in the outside backs.
“If Papenhuyzen wasn’t injured for Game I I think he would’ve been picked for Game I and would’ve been there for the series.
“It’s a shame the timing of the injury he has and can’t see the side being changed.”
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CALLS FOR MAROONS DEBUTANT TO SWAP WITH QLD NO.1
Calls are growing louder for Wayne Bennett to play debutant Corey Allan at fullback and shift Valentine Holmes to the wing for Game III at Suncorp Stadium.
Holmes has had a poor season since returning from the NFL and historically his best footy for Queensland has been on the wing where he has scored eight tries in six games.
Rabbitohs fullback Allan was brought into the side for winger Philip Sami, who struggled defensively in Game II, but veteran journalist Phil Rothfield believes he should start at fullback in the decider.
“Valentine Holmes is a wonderful footballer, but his best form over a long period of time and before he went to the NFL was on the wing,” Rothfield said on The Big Sports Breakfast.
Corey Allan has been named on the wing.Source:Getty Images
“He is a great, great finisher. I know he is on fullback money at the Cowboys, but his form there this year while it wasn’t fair to judge it as he had so many injuries.
“But in his time at Cronulla he was a far better winger than he was a fullback.”
Rothfield believes Souths’ No.1 back-up Allan should play at fullback due to his strong finish to the season with Holmes to shift to the wing.
“I think they would be crazy not to start Corey Allan at fullback,” Rothfield said.
“He did so well this year at the South Sydney Rabbitohs when he came in for Latrell Mitchell.
“He was a really big part of their storming run home before they got knocked out in the qualifying final.
“I just think it is a much stronger Queensland side than it would be with Allan on the wing.”
Originally published asOrigin Scout: Blues legends back Fittler’s rookie snub, calls for Maroons debutant to oust Val
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