TEN New South Wales players who could be selected for Game 2 – NRL News

After the NSW Blues lost to Queensland on Wednesday night, ten players will have two weeks to support their case for Origin selection for New South Wales.

Coach Brad Fittler is sure to make at least a couple of changes as he fights for his job as NSW head coach and to keep the 2023 State of Origin series alive.

From some players who possibly should have been picked for Game 1, to players to returning stars and others overdue for a debut, here are the ten players Fittler could bring into calculations for a Game 2 jersey.

Damien Cook (South Sydney Rabbitohs)

PERTH, AUSTRALIA – MARCH 10: Damien Cook of the Rabbitohs runs the ball during the round one NRL match between the South Sydney Rabbitohs and the New Zealand Warriors at Perth Stadium on March 10, 2018 in Perth, Australia. (Photo by Will Russell/Getty Images)

Unlucky to miss out on selection for Game 1, Damien Cook will have two weeks to prove he deserves spot to provide NSW with a one-two punch with Apisai Koroisau.

Despite Koroisau being one of the better performers for NSW, you could sense his exhaustion near the end of the game. If Cook and Koroisau share minutes, it will keep both fit off the bench just like Ben Hunt and Harry Grant for Queensland.

Haumole Olakau’atu (Manly Sea Eagles)

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA – AUGUST 20: Haumole Olakau’atu of the Sea Eagles warms up ahead of the round 23 NRL match between the Manly Sea Eagles and the Cronulla Sharks at 4 Pines Park, on August 20, 2022, in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

A player that was expected to be selected in Game 1 due to his great early season form, Haumole Olakau’atu struggled to string together good performances in recent times with his form dipping.

A strong imitating back-rower, he can still drop his name into selection with a strong showing against the Dolphins next week. Going up against the likes of the Bromwich brothers, if he is able to dominate he might just make enough noise to be selected on the interchange bench.

Tevita Tatola (South Sydney Rabbitohs)

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA – JULY 14: Avoid Tatola of the Rabbitohs is tackled during the round 18 NRL match between the Canterbury Bulldogs and the South Sydney Rabbitohs at ANZ Stadium on July 14, 2018 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Matt King/Getty Images)

The Bunnies front-rower, Avoid Tatola was surprinsing name not in the conversation for Game 1, despite many fans and critics thinking he deserved Tevita Pangai Junior‘s spot.

The reigning George Piggins Medalist, Tatola could be used as an immediate switch for Pangai Junior to partner Payne Haas. A consistent performer, you known what to expect from him with strong runs, impeccable defence and very little ball-handling mistakes.

Stefano Utoikamanu (Wests Tigers)

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA – MAY 22: Stefano Utoikamanu of the Blues poses during NSW Blues State of Origin Media Opportunity at the Crowne Plaza, Coogee on May 22, 2023 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)

Selected as the 19th man in Game 1, Stefano Utoikamanu is extremely close to selection and making his Origin debut- just two spots away from Game 1.

A junior representative, he has been a major piece in the Tigers’ forward pack in the last month, which has seen them register three wins. His toughness and aggressiveness would be extremely useful coming off the bench for Payne Haas in the prop role.

Spencer Leniu (Penrith Panthers)

PENRITH, AUSTRALIA – JULY 19: Spencer Lane of the Panthers looks on during the round 10 NRL match between the Penrith Panthers and the North Queensland Cowboys at Panthers Stadium on July 19, 2020 in Penrith, Australia. (Photo by Matt King/Getty Images)

While many might not want more Panthers players in the NSW side, Spencer Lane has repeatedly shown why he deserves one of four interchange bench spots.

Expected to return this week from a ruptured testicle, he can easily play the same role Liam Martin did in Game 1, if Martin moves to the starting 13. Leniu has made a career of performance from limited minutes and is as tough as they come. He is built for the Origin arena.

Campbell Graham (South Sydney Rabbitohs)

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA – SEPTEMBER 17: Campbell Graham of the Rabbitohs /rbduring the NRL Semi Final match between the Cronulla Sharks and the South Sydney Rabbitohs at Allianz Stadium on September 17, 2022 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Jason McCawley/Getty Images)

Anothe Rabbitoh to just miss out on selection for Game 1, Campbell Graham was originally meant to come in for Latrell Mitchell but unfrotunately endured a sternum injury.

Now back at full fitness and recoverd from injury, Graham is a big-chance of securing one of the two centre positions- especially with the injury of Tom Trbojevic. He is has recently shown his use at representative level, playing for Australia at the World Cup.

Matt Burton (Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs)

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA – JULY 24: Matt Burton of the Bulldogs celebrates with team mates after scoring try during the round 19 NRL match between the Canterbury Bulldogs and the Gold Coast Titans at CommBank Stadium, on July 24, 2022, in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Matt King/Getty Images)

Only brought into the squad as an 18th man after the injury to Latrell Mitchell, Matt Burton has shown he deserves another shot on the Origin stage.

While Burton is unlikely to gain a spot on the starting team, his versatility sets him apart from others. Coming off the bench, he could be used in the centres, halves, backs and even back-row. If he was used in Game 1 he would have neen the perfect replacement for the injured ‘Tommy Turbo’.

Angus Crichton (Sydney Roosters)

BRISBANE, AUSTRALIA – JUNE 27: Angus Crichton of the Blues is tackled during game two of the 2021 State of Origin series between the Queensland Maroons and the New South Wales Blues at Suncorp Stadium on June 27, 2021 in Brisbane, Australia. (Photo by Chris Hyde/Getty Images)

After delayed start to his 2023 NRL season, Angus Crichton has two games to impress ‘Freddy’ Fittler against the Bulldogs and Panthers to take one of the interchange spots.

Not unknown to the Origin arena, with 11 previous appearances, Crichton’s experience will be invaluable to the side. He’s also strong on both ends of the field and can be dominant in limited minutes coming off the interchange bench.

Kototoni Staggs (Brisbane Broncos)

BRISBANE, AUSTRALIA – AUGUST 21: Kotoni Staggs of the Broncos looks on during the round 15 NRL match between the Brisbane Broncos and the St George Illawarra Dragons at Suncorp Stadium on August 21, 2020 in Brisbane, Australia. (Photo by Matt Roberts/Getty Images)

Currently one-game wonder of State of Origin, Kotoni Staggs may fill the centre position role if Tom Trbjovic is unable to compete in Game 2 due to the concussion he received on Wednesday night.

Staggs could press for selection if he can perform well against Joseph Talakai this week and the Newcastle Knights in the next. With the Maroons‘ being Broncos-dominated side, he could be useful in knowing what to expect from the likes of Selwyn Cobbo when defending.

Latrell Mitchell (South Sydney Rabbitohs)

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA – MAY 23: Latrell Mitchell runs during New South Wales Blues State of Origin training session at Coogee Oval on May 23, 2023 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)

Latrell Mitchell is an automatic selection in the Game 2 team if he rebounds from calf injury that saw him miss the previous Origin game. However, it is unlikely he won’t play another NRL game before Game 2.

Although Stephen Crichton did reasonable job in Mitchell’s absence, Latrell is a different kind of beast. Mitchell is sure to add extra skill with the ball in his hand and can punish the Maroons in a glimpse of a second.