Almanac Rugby League – State of Origin III: Team News



Both Freddie Fittler and Kevin Walters are trying to play it cool with the announcement of their squads ahead of the State of Origin decider in Sydney next week, albeit in different ways.


NSW has named an unchanged side, hardly surprising in light of their thumping win in Game 2 nine days ago. But coach Fittler is playing guessing games to some extent as there are concerns with Nathan Cleary still battling an ankle injury while Tariq Sims has to beat the judiciary this week to be available. David Klemmer, usually an automatic first choice for NSW, will come into the squad if Sims is rubbed out. If Cleary is forced out, expect James Maloney to move to halfback and Wade Graham to come into the run-on side at No. 6. Cleary has to be doubtful and, given the importance of this game, simply must be fully fit to play. Anything else is too much of a risk, even if NSW are raging favourites.


Queensland are in a far more difficult situation. They got hammered in Perth and have lost emerging star Kalyn Ponga to injury. After disappointing in the previous game, Dylan Napa and Jarrod Wallace have been dropped. Those three are replaced by Joe Ofahengaue who is returning from injury while Christian Welch and Corey Norman will debut. No run-on team has been named, just a squad. The big question is, who will play at fullback? There are about five options but any one of them named there will upset the balance elsewhere in the backline. We’ll see. The other question mark will be over who accompanies Will Chambers in the centres. It’s a guessing game alright. If they weren’t up against it enough already, the Maroons will need something approaching a miracle to stand any chance of getting a win.


Let’s see how the coming days unfold and we’ll run the ruler over the situation again this time next week.


Our writers are independent contributors. The opinions expressed in their articles are their own. They are not the views, nor do they reflect the views, of Malarkey Publications.


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About Ian Hauser

A relaxed, Noosa-based retiree with a (very) modest sporting CV. A loyal Queenslander, especially when it comes to cricket and rugby league. Enjoys travel, coffee and cake, reading, and has been known to appreciate a glass or three of wine. One of Footy Almanac's online editors who enjoys the occasional editing opportunity to assist aspiring writers.

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