NRL.com's Origin II Blues team
After a brutal State of Origin series opener – and a couple of key injuries – NRL.com's writers have come up with the following preferred New South Wales Origin side to face Queensland in Game Two at ANZ Stadium on Wednesday, June 18.
1. Jarryd Hayne
Will be the first player picked by Laurie Daley and the New South Wales selectors following his Man of the Match performance in Game One. While he was unable to back up for the Eels against the Panthers 48 hours after Origin, Hayne will be fighting fit to go and will be better for the run against the Cowboys on Friday night.
2. Josh Dugan
Dugan has made our team by the skin of his teeth following campaigns for Penrith's Josh Mansour and Newcastle's James McManus to be put in the team as a replacement for Brett Morris. While he has been flirting with the centres over the past week, Dugan has been averaging 150.4 metres in the NRL this season in his usual fullback position.
3. Beau Scott
While he is now strictly recognised as a back-rower with the Knights, Scott is no stranger to the centres having played his first two Origins there in 2010. With Josh Morris ruled out for the remainder of the series, Beau Scott has been earmarked by NRL.com to fill the void.
4. Michael Jennings
The centre didn't have to do much in the Roosters' last start win against the Raiders, but with devastating speed and a solid defensive game Jennings has certainly done enough to be picked again for NSW in Game Two.
5. Daniel Tupou
These past couple of weeks have been an absolute whirlwind for Daniel Tupou. Fresh off his Origin debut, the winger was able to produce a hat-trick of tries for the Roosters in their dismantling of the Raiders in Round 12. Tupou will only improve from his efforts in Game One.
6. Josh Reynolds
Josh Reynolds, otherwise now known as "Enemy No.1" north of the Tweed, will make his third Origin appearance after escaping suspension following his dangerous throw on Queensland winger Brent Tate. Added much-needed grunt in the halves in Game One – something that had been missing previously.
7. Trent Hodkinson
With Daley putting a big focus on combinations this year, Trent Hodkinson will combine with Bulldogs teammate Reynolds again in Origin II. Hodkinson will go into his second game with the Blues on the back of a likely showdown with new Queensland halfback Daly Cherry-Evans from the Bulldogs' clash with Manly on Friday night.
8. Aaron Woods
Woods was able to enjoy the satisfaction of changing people's opinions of his capabilities in the Origin arena after Game One. His strong performance for the Blues continued an impressive season for the Tigers enforcer who has been averaging 32.4 tackles and 138.3 metres per game.
9. Robbie Farah
The Tigers captain was able to punch out a fluent 80-minute performance in Game One after only making one appearance in the six weeks leading into the series opener. The hooker has averaged 42 tackles this season in the NRL and is one of the most creative hookers in the game.
10. James Tamou
The behemoth Cowboys front-rower has slowly grown into a workhorse for the boys up north this season. Backing up for North Queensland only 72 hours after Origin, Tamou was still able to rack up 122 metres from 13 runs in the Cowboys' 22-0 victory against the Storm.
11. Ryan Hoffman
Much like his representative teammate Tamou, Storm back-rower Ryan Hoffman backed up for his team 72 hours after Origin in Townsville. Although his team was outclassed, it was hard to fault Hoffman after making 88 metres and 41 tackles.
12. Greg Bird
Queensland beware! The Blues' bash brothers have reunited and they have victory on their mind. With Titans star Bird having missed Game One due to a dangerous throw on Rabbitohs winger Bryson Goodwin, Queensland should expect a doubly keen performance from one of NSW's best.
13. Paul Gallen (c)
It'll take more than a sore neck for the Blues captain to not take the field on June 18. After being on the end of a thundering shot from behind by Josh Papalii in the series opener, Gallen has struggled and is only rated a 50/50 prospect to take on the Dragons this weekend. You better believe he'll be right for Game Two though.
14. Trent Merrin
A perfect foil for New South Wales off the interchange, Merrin backed up his efforts from Origin I against the Rabbitohs this past Monday night with 32 tackles and 101 metres. Adding to the impressiveness of his efforts is the fact he started on the bench for the Red V and still racked up significant numbers.
15. Anthony Watmough
Nobody puts Anthony Watmough in the corner. Not even a torn bicep. Word on the street is that he hoped it was completely torn off the bone because you know, it can't get much worse than that can it? His 116.2 metres and 30.1 per game for Manly may take a hit but that's no certainty judging by this man's toughness.
16. Luke Lewis
It only took two games of NRL this season for Luke Lewis to seal himself a spot on the NSW bench for Game One. The Sharks veteran will be even better off after another crack in the back row against the Dragons on Saturday night.
17. Tony Williams
Tony Williams did all he was asked of in the series opener. Solid but not outstanding, T-Rex should be back for the second round with the Blues because there's no point changing a winning formula. Williams has averaged 116.2 metres for the ladder leading Bulldogs in 2014.