The NSW Blues have made three changes in the side to face the Queensland Maroons on Wednesday 18th June, 2014, at ANZ Stadium, Sydney.
Josh Dugan will replace Josh Morris at centre, while brother Brett Morris has been replaced by Will Hopoate on the wing.
Greg Bird, who has returned from suspension, has moved to the lock position, with Tony Williams the man to be axed from the side.
The selection of Dugan is perhaps the biggest gamble by Daley, the fullback having only played two games as a centre.
While the Dragon’s player bagged three tries as a centre on Saturday night, it is hard to take much away from the performance, given he was up against a depleted Sharks outfit.
A lot of the talk this year in the Blues squad has been about changing the culture of the team, which also makes Dugan’s selection eyebrow raising.
Mitchell Pearce missed out on game one after an incident in a night club just a fortnight out of the first Origin game, a decision that Daley said was based around the Blues cleaning up their culture.
However, Dugan, who was involved in a similar incident after being selected for NSW last year, will have people questioning whether Pearce missed out on form instead.
Hopoate’s return to the Origin arena is impressive, with the centre having been out of the game for two years on a Mormon mission before returning with Parramatta for 2014. He returned to representative football with City earlier this year, and his comeback is now complete.
Greg Bird’s return will be a boost for the Blues side, his selection at lock pushing NSW captain Paul Gallen back to prop, a position he has been successful in during the past few years of Origin.
NSW have a chance to take the series for the first time in nine years by winning the encounter at home. If they slip up in game two, they face the prospect of needing to again win at Queensland in the third game of the series.
NSW team for State of Origin II
1 Jarryd Hayne (Parramatta Eels)
2 Will Hopoate (Parramatta Eels )
3 Josh Dugan (St George Illawarra Dragons) 4 Michael Jennings (Sydney Roosters)
5 Daniel Tupou (Sydney Roosters)
6 Josh Reynolds (Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs)
7 Trent Hodkinson (Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs)
8 Paul Gallen (c) (Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks)
9 Robbie Farah (Wests Tigers)
10 Aaron Woods (Wests Tigers)
11 Ryan Hoffman (Melbourne Storm)
12 Beau Scott (Newcastle Knights)
13 Greg Bird (Gold Coast Titans)
14 James Tamou (North Queensland Cowboys)
15 Anthony Watmough (Manly Warringah Sea Eagles)
16 Trent Merrin (St George Illawarra Dragons)
17 Luke Lewis (Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks)
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