If Queensland have their way the State Of Origin trophy will belong to them on Wednesday night.
Their quest to wrap up the series though has taken a beating with Brad Thorn struggling to overcome a sternum injury.
After losing prop Steven Price for the series to a knee injury, the Queenslander’s couldn’t afford to lose another big man from their pack for game two.
Souths lock Ashley Harrison has been called up as the 18th man to cover for injuries and should Thorn be rules out, I’d expect him to start from the bench.
NSW meanwhile have injury problems of their own. After losing Trent Barrett earlier in the week there was another scare when Mark Gasnier went down with a groin injury.
NSW have called up Luke Lewis just in case Gasnier is not cleared to play.
Lewis’ selection may raise a few eyebrows, but at the end of the day its the safest move.
Lewis, who is likely to play on the wing with Matt king moving into the centers, has played at Origin and Test level before and has handled himself well on all occasions. He can play on the wing or in the centers and he is a known, safe quantity to NSW selectors.
Meanwhile, it will be interesting to see how Braith Anasta going in this game. He has struggled for form since his rookie season and has often talked with frustration about his inability to regain his place in the representative arena.
Now, he has his chance. He turned down union to focus on having a full league career and if he wants to be a long term prospect at Origin level for NSW a big performance in game two would go a long way into helping him keep his place for Origin three and beyond.
Other players under the gun include Jonathon Thurston, who has an inform Scott Prince breathing down his next, Billy Slater, who has Rhys Wesser and Matthew Bowen pushing their claims……and Luke Bailey and Jason Ryles, who were very poor in the first Origin match and who’s careers would take a big hit should they back up with another poor performance.
What ever the case, Origin two is set up for a magnificent showdown.
The return of Johns, the series on the line, careers at a crossroads and a brilliant game of football to be played in the middle of all of it.
I cant wait!
For the record I’m tipping NSW by 8.
A well known Rugby League writer, League Freak has established a reputation among supporters of the game for his fearless commentary and unmatched insight. With a reach that spans both sides of the globe, League Freak has produced an independent network that allows him to distribute content to his many thousands of followers. He is the owner and main author of LeagueFreak.com
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