Queensland playmaker Cameron Munster has been cleared to face the Maroons in the state of origin decider’s third game at Suncorp Stadium.
Maroons fans were nervous after seeing footage of Munster with an ice pack strapped to his shoulder after Game 2, also leaving the ground scarred.
As Munster received scans on his shoulder the day after the Maroons lost to Perth, Fox Sports reporter Cody Kaye revealed on Twitter that doctors in Queensland had cleared the 27-year-old.
BURTON WATCHES BLUES TRAINING FROM THE SIDELINE
The Blues are facing a nervous wait for Matt Burton after the Blues rookie was ruled out of training with a calf complaint.
According David Riccio of the Daily Telegraphthe decision for the youngster not to attend the training was a precautionary measure.
While Burton is expected to play, if judged, Jack Wighton would likely come off the bench. The Raiders star was among NSW’s best performers in Game 1 before being left out of Game 2 in Perth after contracting Covid.
LAURIE DALEY MAROONS ADMISSION FOR ORIGINAL DECIDER
Former Blues manager Laurie Daley believes Billy Slater picked Queensland’s ‘worst team’ in the series and predicts the Blues will triumph in decider Suncorp.
Although Daley has faith in Brad Fittler’s team, he doesn’t think it will crush the Origin fans they witnessed in Game 2.
“New South Wales will win, I think they’re a good team,” Daley said Great sports breakfast from Sky Racing.
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“I think Queensland for me is their worst team out of three (games).
“I didn’t say the worst team in history, I say over the three games.”
“I think it will be more than competitive, I don’t think you will get the score like we did in Perth.”
The former Kangaroo believes Queensland’s right edge was a defensive concern in Game II and with Felise Kaufusi ruled out as the original decider, Daley sees Jeremiah Nanai and Dane Gagai as defensive liabilities.
“They have issues defensively, when you really look at it,” Daley said.
“Their right edge, Kaufusi isn’t there to help (Daly) Cherry-Evans, so he’s going to have Nanai there who was poor defensively in this game.
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“Sometimes for the Cowboys he’s been solid without being great defensively, you’ve got Cherry (Evans) who can make bad decisions, you’ve got Gagai who’s missed a lot of tackles throughout this Origin campaign, young Selwyn Cobbo on the wing that didn’t play well in Origin II.
“They’re not all going to play badly, but I still see issues in that Queensland right side defense and I think New South Wales with the combination of Burton, Luai, Cleary, Yeo, they’re doing it as well as anyone to be able to rip a team apart on the edge there.
THE FREDDY SHIFT WHO SEALED THE FATE OF STAR BLUES
A clear change in tactics from Brad Fittler and the Blues sealed the fate of Jack Wighton after the Raiders star was a shocking omission for the State of Origin decider.
The Blues entered Game 1 with Damien Cook at No.9 and no substitute hooker on the bench.
Queensland, meanwhile, launched Ben Hunt while Harry Grant came off the bench and made an immediate impact against the Blues’ tired defenders as the Maroons ambushed NSW in Sydney.
Fittler responded by adding Panthers hooker Api Koroisau to the starting lineup while Cook was benched for Game 2. It proved a masterstroke as the Blues tied the series in Perth.
It meant, however, that there was no room for Wighton on the bench for Game 3 once Fittler decided to stay with Stephen Crichton and Matt Burton in the centres.
This was despite Wighton being among the Blues’ best performers when the series opened and only missing the clash at Optus Stadium after contracting Covid.
” It was hard. Sifa (Talakai), the versatility he gives us on the bench is why we chose Sifa over Jack,” Fittler said on Monday.
“We considered [playing Wighton at centre] but I think what Matt did in Game 2 offered just a bit more. What Jack brings is very different from what Matt brings.
“We have two very young centers there. It’s a very difficult position to play and we’ve probably been a bit vulnerable there, so we have some work to do.
NSW councilor Greg Alexander shed light on the decision when he appeared on NRL360 on Monday night.
“It was definitely not something to be taken lightly and there was a lot of talk last night at the end of the round,” he said on NRL360.
“When we decided that Stepen (Crichton) was going to stay in the centers with Matt Burton, it was a question of who could fill a place on the bench.
“The fact that we had a hooker on the bench made us lean towards a player who could not only play in the center but also in the back row.”
Responding to Alexander, David Riccio of The Daily Telegraph agreed that the Blues could not afford to pick Wighton if he was not going to start.
“For me, I don’t see how you get Wighton on the bench when Damien Cook is already there and you lose another striker,” he said.
“You can’t have cook and wighton on the bench.”