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Blues Origin II team: Tom Trbojevic back at training; Crichton returns to side

Star centre Tom Trbojevic returned to Blues training on Thursday having sat out a session earlier in the week.

Trbojevic told NRL.com on Wednesday that he missed the session due to player load as he had gone around on Sunday for Manly. He said it had nothing to do with trying to protect his hamstrings.

Former skipper Boyd Cordner was also on hand at Blues training on Thursday to help out with preparations for Sunday's game.

Roosters forward Angus Crichton and Storm lock Dale Finucane are the new faces in the NSW 20-man squad for Ampol State of Origin II with Crichton to come from the bench and Finucane in the reserves.

Coach Brad Fittler has also included 18th man Api Koroisau and Campbell Graham in the squad.

Crichton, who missed the series opener through suspension, joined his Blues teammates in camp on Sunday.

Finucane returns to the Blues set-up after playing two of three games in last year's series.

The off-contract star missed the opening six rounds of the Telstra Premiership with a calf injury but has returned to help Melbourne reach top spot on the ladder in recent weeks.

Panthers forward Liam Martin has retained his spot on the bench after a week of uncertainty and following the withdrawal of Jake Trbojevic.

The Blues are otherwise settled ahead of their quest to clinch the series in Brisbane following a dominating 50-6 series display in Townsville.

The squad travelled to Kingscliff on Monday to begin preparations after the increase of COVID-19 cases in Sydney over the past week.

Fittler has promoted Junior Paulo to the run-on side to replace Trbojevic at prop with Crichton earning a recall on the bench.

Speaking on Channel Nine's Sunday Footy Show earlier in the day, Fittler said Finucane's recent form could not be overlooked.

"What I see now is he’s developing a passing game in the middle," Fittler said.

Team Lists

Backs

  • Fullback for Maroons is number 2 Valentine Holmes
    Fullback for Blues is number 1 James Tedesco
  • Winger for Maroons is number 5 Kyle Feldt
    Winger for Blues is number 2 Brian To'o
  • Centre for Maroons is number 3 Kurt Capewell
    Centre for Blues is number 3 Latrell Mitchell
  • Centre for Maroons is number 4 Dane Gagai
    Centre for Blues is number 4 Tom Trbojevic
  • Winger for Maroons is number 20 Xavier Coates
    Winger for Blues is number 5 Josh Addo-Carr
  • Five-Eighth for Maroons is number 6 Cameron Munster
    Five-Eighth for Blues is number 6 Jarome Luai
  • Halfback for Maroons is number 7 Daly Cherry-Evans
    Halfback for Blues is number 7 Nathan Cleary

Forwards

  • Prop for Maroons is number 8 Christian Welch
    Prop for Blues is number 8 Daniel Saifiti
  • Hooker for Maroons is number 9 Andrew McCullough
    Hooker for Blues is number 9 Damien Cook
  • Prop for Maroons is number 10 Josh Papalii
    Prop for Blues is number 10 Junior Paulo
  • 2nd Row for Maroons is number 11 Jai Arrow
    2nd Row for Blues is number 11 Cameron Murray
  • 2nd Row for Maroons is number 12 Felise Kaufusi
    2nd Row for Blues is number 12 Tariq Sims
  • Lock for Maroons is number 13 Tino Fa'asuamaleaui
    Lock for Blues is number 13 Isaah Yeo

Interchange

  • Interchange for Maroons is number 14 Ben Hunt
    Interchange for Blues is number 14 Jack Wighton
  • Interchange for Maroons is number 15 Moeaki Fotuaika
    Interchange for Blues is number 15 Angus Crichton
  • Interchange for Maroons is number 16 David Fifita
    Interchange for Blues is number 16 Payne Haas
  • Interchange for Maroons is number 17 Francis Molo
    Interchange for Blues is number 17 Liam Martin

Reserves

  • Reserve for Maroons is number 18 Coen Hess
    Reserve for Blues is number 18 Apisai Koroisau

Match Officials

  • Referee: Gerard Sutton
  • Touch Judge: Todd Smith
  • Touch Judge: Phil Henderson
  • Senior Review Official: Ashley Klein

Last updated:

"He’s scoring tries through the middle and his defence is always awesome.

"If you see him off the field he’s the ultimate professional. I know there’s players that look after themselves but he is better than all of them.

"Getting him in the squad somewhere will be one of my priorities and also going into the future as well.

"That’s how it started last year and the year before, Dale came in as 18th man and ended up playing a big part in what we did. It’s great to have him around."

Trbojevic, who was used a starting prop by Brad Fittler in the Origin I win in Townsville, will be out for at least a fortnight, according to Manly coach Des Hasler.

"He loves his footy Jake and he's not happy about this."

The Blues comprehensively outplayed the Maroons in a record-breaking 50-6 triumph in the Ampol State of Origin series opener.

NSW team:

1. James Tedesco
2. Brian To'o
3. Latrell Mitchell
4. Tom Trbojevic
5. Joshua Addo-Carr
6. Jarome Luai
7. Nathan Cleary
8. Daniel Saifiti
9. Damien Cook
10. Junior Paulo
11. Cameron Murray
12. Tariq Sims
13. Isaah Yeo
14. Jack Wighton
15. Angus Crichton
16. Payne Haas
17. Liam Martin
18. Apisai Koroisau
19. Campbell Graham
20. Dale Finucane

Origin II in Brisbane is sold out but tickets are still on sale for game three at Stadium Australia in Sydney on July 14 - get your tickets at NRL.com/tickets.