Matt Moylan has been recalled to the NSW side for State of Origin III for a shattered Adam Reynolds, ruled out of the match on Wednesday due to a shoulder injury.
After being dumped as Blues fullback for the final Origin clash this year in favour of James Tedesco, Moylan will have the chance to atone for two losses in his first two NSW games.
Moylan was brought into the Blues’ 17 by coach Laurie Daley, who would confirm late on Thursday where the Penrith captain would play.
Moylan will join James Maloney in the Blues’ halves or play off the bench, with Jack Bird moving into a the frontline playmaking role.
Bird trained in the halves with the Blues on Wednesday at their Coffs Harbour base.
“It is always hard missing out on those games – Origin games are special,” said Reynolds, who made his Origin debut in game one.
“It was the highlight of my career. To sit out and not take part is very disappointing.
“I want to come back and be part of the side next year; I have learnt a lot from being here.
“I am only going to grow from here and I look forward to getting another shot.”
Prop Aaron Woods said the loss of Reynolds was a blow to the Blues’ chances of avoiding a series whitewash next Wednesday at ANZ Stadium.
“It is frustrating for Adam. He worked really hard to get back from the injury,” Woods said.
“He just told the boys before we just trained and he spent the session with the physio.
“It is disappointing for Adam and ourselves. It is not the ideal preparation going into Origin.”
Reynolds injured his shoulder late in NSW’s series-ending game-two defeat in Brisbane.
He played in South Sydney’s loss last weekend to North Queensland.
But he continues to be troubled by pins and needles in his shoulder and has a pinched nerve in his neck.
Bird capably filled in for Reynolds late in game two and could do so again alongside Maloney in the halves.
The duo played together at representative level earlier this year as the six and seven for Country Origin.