Who should replace Klemmer for NSW? NRL.com experts have their say

Newcastle and NSW enforcer David Klemmer has joined a growing list of NSW-eligible front-rowers in the casualty ward in recent weeks, leaving Blues selectors scrambling to find a replacement.

Who should get the nod? The NRL.com experts have their say.

NRL.com's experts view

Brett Kimmorley (Former NSW halfback)

I'm going left-field – Boyd Cordner could play in the front row as the Blues' leader, and I'd bring Wade Graham straight into the second row to play on the left edge. I'd also start Cameron Murray who's got great leg-speed at lock, and use Jake Trbojevic as a ball-player off the bench from the 20th minute onwards.

Steve Renouf (Maroons legend)

Matt Lodge should replace Klemmer in the side and he should also start the match. Lodge has definitely been one of the Broncos' most consistent performers this year.

Margie McDonald (NRL.com senior reporter)

I'd be putting Matt Prior into the front row – he's won two premierships and he has metres of mobility as well as punch. And I'd be dropping one of the back-rowers from the bench – sorry, Angus Crichton – and putting Reagan Campbell-Gillard there.

Jamie Soward (Former Blues five-eighth)

NSW need another enforcer to replace Klemmer and Matt Lodge has done enough to join his Broncos teammate Payne Haas in the front-row rotation for the Blues.

Brett Keeble (NRL.com reporter)

Give Broncos young gun Payne Haas a start and recall Reagan Campbell-Gillard to come off the bench. RCG was part of the NSW team that won Game One last year but missed the rest of the series because of a broken jaw, and he had his best game of the season in Penrith's victory over the Roosters last Sunday.

Paul Suttor (NRL.com editor)

Payne Haas should be promoted to the starting side with Tariq Sims getting a recall on the bench. Sims can play in the middle or on the edge, he's got size and a healthy dose of aggression about him – he could be a massive boost for the Blues if they use their forward rotation correctly.

Corey Rosser (NRL.com reporter)

Dale Finucane was on the verge of a NSW debut back in 2017 when he was selected as 19th man, and he's an even better player this season. In 12 appearances this year he's averaging over 120 metres and he's a player who would be right at home in Origin.

Tony Webeck (NRL.com reporter)

Brad Fittler has got to go big in replacing David Klemmer. Jordan McLean would have been my choice had injury not intervened so it's going to be hard to go past Matt Lodge. He averages 157m per game, can play big minutes and has terrific skill for a big man. He's the one that will most upset the Maroons defence and bring the aggression you need in Origin.

Brad Walter (NRL.com senior reporter)

They should bring in Matt Prior and Reagan Campbell-Gillard. Klemmer played 52 minutes straight in Origin I and was the best player on the field for the opening quarter of the match so it may take more than one player to replace him. In my opinion, NSW needed another middle forward as Klemmer, Paul Vaughan, Jake Trbojevic, Cameron Murray and Payne Haas all played big minutes whereas Tyson Frizell sat on the bench for 40 minutes after his opening stint as right second-rower.

Chris Kennedy (NRL.com reporter)

Losing Klemmer is a huge blow but the Blues also need to address what was an imbalanced forward pack in game one. Jordan McLean is the obvious replacement but he appears unlikely now due to injury. Matt Lodge's poor efforts against the Titans were a massive red flag and Regan Campbell-Gillard has only just come good after a poor season to date while Matt Prior has had injury concerns. For me the solution is to start Payne Haas at prop and Dale Finucane at lock. Jake Trbojevic reverts to the bench and plays a 60-minute spell in the middle as he did last year to such great effect. Game One's 18th man Ryan Matterson replaces edge specialist Angus Crichton on the bench because he covers lock, edge and five-eighth.

Lone Scout (NRL Fantasy expert)

The ideal alternatives for David Klemmer are either injured (Jordan McLean, Ryan James) or have switched allegiances (Andrew Fifita) so with no obvious like-for-like replacements on Klemmer's level it may be time to turn to a smaller body. The success of the new-look Raiders pack has shown this year that bigger is not always better, so a reshuffled Blues pack featuring Dale Finucane, Jake Trbojevic and Cameron Murray in the middle along with genuine props Paul Vaughan and Payne Haas would have the intensity and work ethic to match it with Queensland.

Maria Tsialis (Big League editor)

While I'd love to see Dale Finucane play for the Blues, to cover Klemmer Brad Fittler is going to need a larger, more aggressive body to have an impact rather than your reliable option. I would be going with a more experienced prop to take out the rookie factor, so I think Campbell-Gillard should get the nod. He's played himself into contention the past few weeks and we know what he can do.

Zac Bailey (NRL.com reporter)

Matt Lodge. He has been the leader of the Broncos pack this year. Lodge is averaging 157m off 13 carries per game in 2019 which is a great return for a front-rower and I think he has the hard edge to hold his own in the Origin arena. He was also in Brad Fittler's Emerging Blues squad earlier this year which no doubt helps his cause.

Mary Konstantopoulos (Ladies Who League)

David Klemmer is a player who I almost think is irreplaceable, but to fill his very big shoes, I would select Dale Finucane. Dale is a very consistent performer for the Melbourne Storm and to this point has been essentially overlooked for Origin. It's time for him to get his chance and I would start him and select another big body on the bench like Reagan Campbell-Gillard.

Dan Walsh (NRL.com reporter)

Matt Lodge. As far as form and aggression goes, Lodge is the best replacement for Klemmer among a somewhat thin field. The Broncos big man has made steady strides since returning to the game and can make the jump to the next level, but it wouldn't hurt to have extra reinforcement off the bench either given the muddled rotations of game one. I'd have Dale Finucane coming into the 17 as well with Tyson Frizell and Boyd Cordner more than capable of knocking out big minutes as starting back-rowers.

Kenny Scott (NRL.com podcaster)

Reagan Campbell-Gillard would be the ideal replacement for Klemmer and should be a starting prop. RCG has really turned his game round the last couple of weeks and NSW need to make sure they replace not just the physical presence of Klemmer, but his aggression and intent on the field as well. An added bonus is that what he lacks in crazy eyes he more than makes up for in moustache.

Jonathan Healy (NRL.com reporter)

Surely it's time to give Dale Finucane a crack at Origin level? Put him on the bench and use him when required to give the other forwards a break.