New South Wales and Queensland have both announced changes for the third and final State of Origin clash, to be played at Suncorp Stadium on July 11.
The Blues, who have already wrapped up the series with victories in the opening two games, have made the surprise call to drop Origin II debutant Matt Prior and hand Tariq Sims a maiden call-up.
Sharks prop Prior – who came into the team for the injury Reagan Campbell-Gillard – was solid in NSW’s series-sealing triumph in Sydney, but with the Origin shield under lock and key Brad Fittler has taken the opportunity to blood St George Illawarra back-rower Sims, who was on the cusp of selection for the first two games.
— NSW Blues 🏆 (@NSWRL) July 1, 2018
Sims will start on the bench, with Dragons teammate Paul Vaughan moving into the front-row. The Blues’ are otherwise unchanged, meaning they will have used just 19 players across the three matches.
Gold Coast skipper Ryan James, edged out for a debut by Prior in a photo finish last time round, has been named 18th man. Captain Boyd Cornder is under a cloud with a calf injury. Prior and Luke Keary will join the squad as development players.
Brad Fittler has given Boyd Cordner the full week to prove his #Origin fitness, while the captain is confident he will recover from a calf injury.
— NSW Blues 🏆 (@NSWRL) July 2, 2018
Queensland, meanwhile, have been hit with the triple blow of injuries to captain Greg Inglis, bench sensation Kalyn Ponga and front-row enforcer Dylan Napa.
Daly Cherry-Evans has received an Origin recall after a three-year absence, slotting into the No.7 jumper with Ben Hunt – whose subpar performance at halfback in Origin II proved costly – taking Ponga’s interchange spot.
Monday's @couriermail back page: @QLDmaroons in crisis with Inglis and Ponga out injured. Qld delay naming their team while they scrape numbers together. Daly Cherry-Evans will return from Origin exile when team for Game 3 is named tomorrow. Stories by @badel_cmail pic.twitter.com/pEoOhAMgue
— Courier Mail Sport (@cmail_sport) July 1, 2018
Out wide Dane Gagai shifts from wing to centre to replace clubmate Inglis, while the in-form Corey Oates gets a richly-deserved recall on the flank.
Playing in his last-ever Origin match, Billy Slater will captain Queensland for the first time.
OFFICIAL: Billy Slater to captain Queensland team for the first time in his final Maroons appearance.
— Queensland Maroons (@QLDmaroons) July 1, 2018
Tim Glasby is Napa’s replacement in the Maroons’ 17, joined on the bench by the relegated Jarrod Wallace – who is regarded as extremely lucky to retain a place in the squad – with Jai Arrow and Josh Papalii moving into the starting front-row.
Napa has been named as 18th man but is a longshot to recover from a knee injury in time to play in the dead-rubber.
Queensland is looking to avoid its first 3-0 cleansweep defeat since 2000.
STATE OF ORIGIN III – WEDNESDAY, JULY 11 @ SUNCORP STADIUM, BRISBANE
New South Wales
1. James Tedesco (Sydney Roosters)
2. Tom Trbojevic (Manly Warringah Sea Eagles)
3. Latrell Mitchell (Sydney Roosters)
4. James Roberts (Brisbane Broncos)
5. Josh Addo-Carr (Melbourne Storm)
6. James Maloney (Penrith Panthers)
7. Nathan Cleary (Penrith Panthers)
8. David Klemmer (Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs)
9. Damien Cook (South Sydney Rabbitohs)
10. Paul Vaughan (St George Illawarra Dragons)
11. Boyd Cordner (c) (Sydney Roosters)
12. Tyson Frizell (St George Illawarra Dragons)
13. Jack de Belin (St George Illawarra Dragons)
14. Tariq Sims (St George Illawarra Dragons)
15. Jake Trbojevic (Manly Warringah Sea Eagles)
16. Angus Crichton (South Sydney Rabbitohs)
17. Tyrone Peachey (Penrith Panthers)
18. Ryan James (Gold Coast Titans)
1. Billy SLATER (c) – Melbourne Storm
2. Valentine HOLMES – Cronulla Sharks
3. Dane GAGAI – South Sydney Rabbitohs
4. Will CHAMBERS – Melbourne Storm
5. Corey OATES – Brisbane Broncos
6. Cameron MUNSTER – Melbourne Storm
7. Daly CHERRY-EVANS – Manly Sea Eagles
8. Jai ARROW – Gold Coast Titans
9. Andrew McCULLOUGH – Brisbane Broncos
10. Josh PAPALII – Canberra Raiders
11. Gavin COOPER – North Queensland Cowboys
12. Felise KAUFUSI – Melbourne Storm
13. Josh McGUIRE – Brisbane Broncos
14. Ben HUNT – St George Illawarra Dragons
15. Jarrod WALLACE – Gold Coast Titans
16. Coen HESS – North Queensland Cowboys
17. Tim GLASBY – Melbourne Storm
18. Dylan NAPA – Sydney Roosters