He won’t have pulled on a NSW jumper all series, but axed Blues five-eighth Josh Reynolds is still finding ways to annoy the Queenslanders.
The Maroons woke up on Thursday morning to news NSW forward Josh Jackson will play in the State of Origin decider after successfully downgrading a dangerous throw charge at the NRL judiciary on Wednesday night.
Jackson copped a one-game ban, ruling him out of the Bulldogs’ clash with Melbourne on Monday night, but is free to play game three in Brisbane.
And the Bulldogs second-rower has his fiery clubmate to thank, given defence counsel Nick Ghabar cited Reynolds’ downgrade of a similar lifting tackle from Origin I last year.
The three-man panel of Bob Lindner, Royce Ayliffe and Bronson Harrison took just 11 minutes to decide on downgrading the charge to a grade one.
Ghabar was also Reynolds’ lawyer when the then-Blues pivot was cleared to play in last year’s series-clincher in Sydney.
Just last week Reynolds revealed he called under-fire Trent Hodkinson on the eve of game two and gave him some encouraging words.
Jackson conceded he still had to be selected in the NSW team next Tuesday but, with Blues coach Laurie Daley in attendance during the hearing, will be assured of a plane ticket to Brisbane.
“You don’t like to miss any footy,” Jackson said.
“I was maybe a chance of missing three games for the Bulldogs and a possible Origin game, (so) yeah I was pretty concerned.
“We looked at a few past videos and were pretty confident. Just happy with the result.
Asked if he was relieved to play arguably the most important game of his life, he said: “I have to get be picked first.
“Hopefully I’ve done enough in the first couple to warrant the selection there.
“It’ll be a good match up there at Suncorp Stadium. If I get selected it’ll be great.”