NSW coach Laurie Daley will decide over the next few days whether to start late call-up Tyson Frizell or shift Greg Bird into the run-on side for State of Origin II.
Frizell, together with the suspended Wade Graham, will arrive in Coffs Harbour on Thursday morning and will immediately take part in the Blues’ second field session of the week.
But Daley said he was unsure about thrusting the Blues debutant immediately into the fray in Brisbane.
“(There is a) possibility of shifting Birdy, but we’ll decide that in the next couple of days,” Daley said after learning of Graham’s suspension on Wednesday night.
Daley considered Penrith star Bryce Cartwright, who is already in camp with Jack Bird as a development players, to fill Graham’s role, but opted for the more experienced St George Illawarra backrower.
Frizell was 18th man in game one before initially being overlooked for game two.
“We obviously considered Bryce but at this point Tyson was the man that we wanted to go with because he’s been with us for two years as 18th man and he deserves a crack,” Daley said.
“That’s the idea of getting guys like (Jack Bird) and Bryce into the squad now – to give them a bit of a taste of what it’s like so when their opportunity comes they’re not shocked and overawed.”
Daley said rookies needed to be weaned into the tough Origin arena.
“For me that’s the better way of doing it rather than just throwing them straight out there,” he said.
“That may be wrong but I still feel like we have to protect these players because it’s a tough game and you don’t want to put them in before they’re ready. You want to put them in when you know they’re ready.”
Daley told Graham straight after the judiciary panel’s verdict over his high shot on Johnathan Thurston to remain positive.
“You’ve got to keep your chin up and hopefully you get another opportunity,” Daley said.
“He’s playing well enough. I just feel personally sad for him that after speaking to him and knowing how much it means to him, this is all he ever wanted to do is pull on a Blues shirt.
“He’s quite passionate and he’s very disappointed but they’re the rules and we’ll move on.”
The Blues have to win game two in Brisbane on Wednesday week to force a series decider back in Sydney.