NSW’s young backrow can help to break Queensland’s long-running stranglehold on State of Origin, Josh Jackson believes.
As coach Laurie Daley prepares to blood his seventh and eighth Origin debutants in Wednesday’s game three, a significant overhaul of the Blues line-up has begun.
Long-serving back-rower Greg Bird’s Origin career is likely over after he was dumped for game three in Sydney on Wednesday, while the retiring Paul Gallen plays his final interstate game.
The Blues have a wealth of options in the back-row with Wade Graham making his debut in place of Bird and Tyson Frizell holding his place in the side.
After two impressive efforts so far this year, Jackson looks certain to have a long Origin career.
On top of that, Boyd Cordner, rated as a possible successor to Gallen as Blues skipper, is missing due to a foot injury for the game three dead rubber.
Daley has been criticised for being slow to institute change in the Blues side but in 25-year-olds Jackson and Graham and 24-year-olds Frizell and Cordner, NSW have quality back-rowers available well into the future.
“There is not the same experience there was before but Wade and Tyson, they are quality players,” Graham said.
“They are professionals, they have a fair bit of experience in first grade too. They are not overawed. It is exciting to see a new young group come through and they will bring energy and enthusiasm to the game.”
Jackson did pay tribute to the way Gallen had helped the youngsters under him make the step up from NRL to the Origin arena.
“In terms of his leadership and the way he plays on the field, you get confidence playing and training with him because he has done it all before,” Jackson said.