NSW coach Brad Fittler says having the luxury of being able to omit Melbourne's Dale Finucane from his line-up for Sunday night’s State of Origin in Brisbane is a sign of the Blues' superb depth.
Finucane was chosen in the extended NSW squad but has missed out on a spot in the 17-man team, with Sydney Roosters second-rower Angus Crichton called in for the injured Jake Trbojevic in the only change to the side which thumped Queensland 50-6 in the series opener.
Eels prop Junior Paulo will start in the front row in place of Trbojevic, with Crichton named on the interchange bench.
Penrith hooker Api Koroisau will again be 18th man, with Finucane and South Sydney centre Campbell Graham the other reserves.
"It’s a good spot to be in at the moment, where you have got Dale on the extended bench. He has been incredible for Melbourne over the last month, so we are in a good spot," Fittler said.
Match: Maroons v Blues
Game 2 -
Venue: Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane
"Angus and Dale are both fit and they have been outstanding for their clubs. The team won’t change much. I feel like Angus will start on the bench and Dale on the extended bench so there’s not much disruption."
Fittler was buoyed by the fact that the Blues players had performed well for their clubs since Origin I two weeks ago, and only Crichton, captain and fullback James Tedesco and Canberra playmaker Jack Wighton – again named on the bench – were in losing teams last weekend.
"Without a doubt they were the best players in a losing team," he said of Tedesco and Crichton in last Friday night’s loss to Penrith.
"That is the whole idea about the mentality of Origin; to go back to their clubs and play good so that you come in feeling good. Hopefully they are feeling confident.
"There is also a familiarity and the other comforting thing is that when they went away they were almost all the best players for their teams.
"I think across the board our players, over the last two weeks, when they have had the opportunity to play they did a fantastic job so that’s really encouraging.
"Queensland are going to have to improve a lot to beat us."
1. James Tedesco
2. Brian To'o
3. Latrell Mitchell
4. Tom Trbojevic
5. Joshua Addo-Carr
6. Jarome Luai
7. Nathan Cleary
8. Daniel Saifiti
9. Damien Cook
10. Junior Paulo
11. Cameron Murray
12. Tariq Sims
13. Isaah Yeo
14. Jack Wighton
15. Angus Crichton
16. Payne Haas
17. Liam Martin
18. Apisai Koroisau
19. Campbell Graham
20. Dale Finucane
Origin II in Brisbane is sold out but tickets are still on sale for game three at Stadium Australia in Sydney on July 14 - get your tickets at NRL.com/tickets.