Queensland fear the versatility that Wade Graham can bring to the NSW side – if the Cronulla back-rower is selected for his State of Origin debut.
Blues coach Laurie Daley needs to find a replacement for the injured Boyd Cordner for Wednesday week’s Origin II with Graham, St George Illawarra’s Tyson Frizell, the Warriors’ NSW veteran Ryan Hoffman and Parramatta hardman Beau Scott in the mix for a spot on the left edge.
Maroons veteran Sam Thaiday believes it is Graham who can bring the most to the NSW side as the Blues seek to keep the Origin series alive.
“I’m not going to give too many tips but I think Graham has been playing fantastic footy for the Sharks and I think he is ready for State of Origin football,” Thaiday told Channel Nine’s Sunday Footy Show.
“I had the chance to play with him in the All Stars team at the start of the year and he is a fantastic player.
“He is very aggressive, he also brings that ball playing ability to that back row, he has a kicking games as well and that can mix things up as well,”
Graham and his Sharks teammate and fellow Blues hopeful Jack Bird have their final chance to impress Daley in Monday night’s clash with premiers North Queensland.
Daley will announce his team after that game.
Despite only playing nine minutes in NSW’s 6-4 loss in Origin I two weeks ago, Dylan Walker is favoured to retain his spot as a utility on the Blues bench.
Daley indicated after the game one loss that he would keep his spine of fullback Matt Moylan, halves James Maloney and Adam Reynolds and hooker Robbie Farah intact.
Wests Tigers fullback James Tedesco was unavailable for selection for Origin I due to a shoulder injury. Despite a number of impressive NRL performances since then, Tedesco will likely have to wait further for his interstate debut.
Josh Dugan missed game one with an elbow injury. Daley could again name a 19-man squad, as he did for game one, to give the St George Illawarra star every chance to play.
Otherwise Josh Morris will again fill the right centre position for the Blues.
Possible NSW side: Matt Moylan, Blake Ferguson, Michael Jennings, Josh Dugan, Josh Mansour, James Maloney, Adam Reynolds, Aaron Woods, Robbie Farah, James Tamou, Josh Jackson, Greg Bird, Paul Gallen. Interchange: David Klemmer, Andrew Fifita, Dylan Walker, Wade Graham.