Pearce and Maloney up for Origin recall

NSW coach Laurie Daley said he was considering recalling James Maloney and Mitchell Pearce however his State of Origin halves picture was still murky after the City-Country clash on Sunday.

A fortnight out from naming his side for the first game of their Origin defence, Daley has still not settled on who will wear the No.6 and No.7 jerseys.

The waters were further muddied after Canterbury five-eighth and Blues incumbent Josh Reynolds was reported twice in Country’s 34-22 win in Wagga Wagga.

Reynolds had an off day in the City No.6 jumper and was reported for tripping Country’s Tariq Sims as the Newcastle back-rower crossed for a try in the 51st minute.

If Reynolds is charged he will also incur a 50 per cent loading after he was rubbed out for two matches for a similar incident against Brisbane’s Ben Barba last year.

As Sims charged towards the line, Reynolds flung a leg out in what looked like an attempt to stop him.

Reynolds was also put on report for striking David Mead after the Country fullback made a break with two minutes left on the clock.

He is in real danger of missing more than two weeks, which would rub him out of Origin I at ANZ Stadium. That would put pressure on Daley not to retain the Canterbury halves pairing by also dropping Trent Hodkinson.

Maloney was awarded man of the match in the City-Country match after steering Country around the park, setting up three tries.

“I thought (Maloney) went well. I thought he directed the team well. Jack Bird isn’t really a halfback but they played well together,” Daley said.

“The longer the game went, the more control he took.”

It has been hinted that Daley will depart from his tradition of using club pairings in the halves and name Hodkinson and Pearce.

Daley will now have two rounds to assess his options and he said his decision would hinge on the performances of all four halves contenders over the next fortnight.

“Anything can happen between now and the game and we have to monitor everyone’s performance … Both (Pearce) and Trent are in the thinking. Nothing is decided in terms of anyone, all those guys are still available and we’ll see how they go over the next couple of weeks.”

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