NSW coach Laurie Daley is desperate to retain his faith in the core of his 2014 State of Origin series winning side, they just have to find some decent form first.
Ahead of Origin I in Sydney on May 27 Daley is keen to remain loyal to his Blues incumbents, including struggling Canterbury halves Josh Reynolds and Trent Hodkinson, but acknowledged they need to lift before he selects his side at the end of round 10 of the NRL season.
NSW City Origin coach Brad Fittler nominated Sydney Roosters winger Daniel Tupou as another incumbent who needs to perform in Sunday’s representative clash with Country in Wagga Wagga.
Parramatta back-rower Anthony Watmough is another battling to retain his place in the NSW side.
Under Daley NSW finally ended eight years of interstate dominance by Queensland last year and that hasn’t been forgotten by the former Blues great.
“You would like to give those guys a chance to prove they can do the job again so we will just see how it pans out,” Daley said on Monday
“I want to try and stick to the nucleus of the players we had least year, but you want them to be playing some reasonable football as well before we select the side.”
Hodkinson and Mitchell Pearce have been rested from the Wagga Wagga clash as Daley searches for his most effective halves combination.
City pivot Reynolds could cement his place in the NSW side with a commanding effort against Country, while 2013 NSW five-eighth James Maloney has a chance to push his claims for an Origin recall.
“This game is all about giving people the opportunity to show what they can do,” Daley said.
“Both of them have played Origin before, James has played some good footy with the Roosters, Josh has had a disrupted season and I think this is what he needs to get out here and play with a different group of boys and enjoy the week.
“This is about giving Josh some football
“He wants to play and he is really looking forward to it.”