Daley still cagey on Blues halves
NSW coach Laurie Daley says aside from the tripping suspension he thinks Josh Reynolds had a great game in Country City – but the option of joining halfbacks Mitchell Pearce and Trent Hodkinson at the Blues scrumbase is very much on the table.
"Other than the trip I thought [Reynolds] played really well," Daley told media on Wednesday.
"I thought he was enthusiastic, he did some really nice things. Unfortunately he stuck the leg out, got charged with a trip which I'm sure he'll be disappointed in.
"He's a guy that everyone loves playing with and he was a big part of what we did last year so well see where it all finishes."
Daley said it had been his hope all along to stick with the incumbents who won the drought-breaking 2014 series as much as possible, but cautioned those players still need to be playing well rather than carrying negativity into camp.
"It will just come down to whether we think he's playing well enough to be there again," he said.
"All along I've said that [I'd prefer to stick with the incumbents]. You'd like to. You'd also want them to be playing some reasonable football so they're feeling confident and have no negativity surrounding them when they walk into an Origin camp."
The tripping charge won't influence Daley's decision when he selects the Origin I team in a fortnight's time.
"I'm just a little bit disappointed for Josh because I know he's disappointed. He knows whenever he misses a game and whenever he gives away a penalty it puts his team at risk.
"He's had some incidents now since last year's Origin and he knows what he has to do. I think at the moment [he's] little bit frustrated but he's a guy everyone loves playing with and you hate playing against."
Daley added it is "most definitely an option" for Pearce to play alongside Hodkinson at Origin level.
The Blues coach has shown a preference in the past for club combinations, but has also stated previously that that is more of a consideration for Origin rookies – which would not apply in the Pearce/Hodkinson scenario.
In terms of the Blues fullback role, Daley will await the outcome of scans on Dragons fullback Josh Dugan, who picked up a knock playing on the wing for the Kangaroos, but seemed less optimistic about the prospects of Panthers fullback Matt Moylan, who has been named this week despite picking up a hand injury playing for City.
The loss of either or both would compound what has been a horror build up in terms of injuries and suspensions to incumbent or prospective Blues, with captain Paul Gallen (hip) racing the clock, back-rower Greg Bird suspended for entire series, centres Josh Morris (ankle) and Dylan Walker (knee) missing games lately and Blake Ferguson (foot) ruled out.
Wingers Brett Morris (hamstring) and Josh Mansour (knee) are unavailable, 2014 Test debutant Sione Mata'utia has not been getting regular football at his club Newcastle, rejuvenated former Blues lock Glenn Stewart (thumb) has been ruled out and incumbent back-rower Anthony Watmough is struggling for form.
"Some of the things that have happened this year already have been remarkable in terms of, you think you're going well and you're going to have a smooth preparation then all of a sudden you get some curly ones happening but that's what you've got to deal with," Daley said.
"It's an exciting time and I'm sure whoever's playing for NSW will go out there and give it their all."
Possible Blues side for Origin I:
1. Josh Dugan, 2. James Tedesco/Alex Johnston, 3. Michael Jennings, 4. Josh Morris, 5. Daniel Tupou, 6. Mitchell Pearce/Josh Reynolds, 7. Trent Hodkinson, 8. Aaron Woods, 9. Robbie Farah, 10. Paul Gallen, 11. Beau Scott, 12. Ryan Hoffman 13. Luke Lewis 14. Boyd Cordner, 15. Trent Merrin, 16. Josh Jackson/David Klemmer, 17. James Tamou.