KEY MATCH-UPS IN THE CITY V COUNTRY MATCH IN WAGGA WAGGA ON SUNDAY
Josh Reynolds (City) v James Maloney (Country)
This match is being billed as a winner-take-all battle for the NSW five-eighth spot. That might not exactly be the case, but Reynolds can seal his Blues jersey with a dominant display here. Maloney has come into form in recent weeks and could provide the attacking spark NSW sorely need, but his defence is a concern.
Josh Jackson (Country) V Wade Graham (City)
NSW’s bench spots are wide open with both Jackson and Graham well and truly in the running. Jackson enjoyed a breakout year in 2014 in making his Kangaroos debut and has been tipped as a long-term Blues representative. His form has dipped somewhat this season but there’s no doubt he has the skill and toughness to make it at Origin level. Graham’s strength is his versatility, he can play that workhorse role but can also be very creative in attack, something the Blues have relied upon their from their back-rowers in recent years.
Jack Wighton (Country) v James Roberts (City)
With injuries striking hard at the NSW backline a spot could open up for a bolter. Wighton was part of the NSW squad last year, he has been key to Canberra’s good early season form and can play a number of positions. Roberts has finally put his off-field dramas aside to rocket to the top of the NRL’s tryscoring list. If NSW are looking for points, and speed, out wide Roberts can put himself in the frame with a big effort at Wagga Wagga.
Andrew Fifita (City) v David Klemmer (City)
Much depends on the fitness of Paul Gallen, but even if the NSW skipper is right for Origin I on May 27, there could be an opening for a fourth prop behind him, Aaron Woods and James Tamou. Suspension hasn’t helped Klemmer’s cause but he did well in his three Tests for Australia last year. Fifita has threatened at times to rediscover his breakout 2013 form, this match was the launching pad for his rep career that year and could kick-start it again this season.