The 2019 State of Origin game 2 at Optus Stadium in Perth and game 3 at ANZ Stadium in Sydney and game 1 played at the Suncorp Stadium. After a seeming changing of the guard in Game 1, are we going to witness a new dynasty born in Game 2.
New South Wales have their backs against the wall and have swung the selection axe in the hopes of levelling the State of Origin series. Game 2 between the longtime rivals is set to kick-off at 7:50pm (AEST) at Optus Stadium.
Blues coach Brad Fittler has reportedly pulled an eleventh hour shake-up by promoting State of Origin debutant Dale Finucane to the starting side in a three-man change up that’s seen regular starter Paul Vaughan dropped to the bench.
Fox League NRL 360 co-host Paul Kent told Triple M on Sunday Vaughan has ben dropped to the bench to accommodate lock Jake Trbojevic’s move to the front row alongside debutant Daniel Saifiti.
“I’m hearing Dale Finucane will start at lock,” Kent told Triple M.
“Daniel Saifiti will start as well and Paul Vaughan will move to the bench, with Jake Trbojevic moving into the front row to start the game.”
Queensland great Michael Crokcer told Fox League on Sunday night the tactical move from Fittler puts pressure on Queensland forwards Jarrod Wallace and Tim Gladsby to step-up and handle the extra size on the NSW bench when they are injected into the game.
“I think it’s a good call for NSW,” Crocker said.
“With (Dylan) Napa and (Josh) Papalii starting this game, they turned the game with their defence (coming off the bench in Game 1).
“Jarrod Wallace and Tim Gladsby are going to have to combat that.”
It comes after improved weather forecasts prompted the Blues to abort their wet-weather strategies and return to their original game plan.
Fittler made seven changes to the side that lost the series opener in Brisbane — and the rugby league legend is feeling the heat, according to reports.
Fittler is widely tipped to keep his job, where he is signed through to the end of the 2020 series.
However, The Daily Telegraph’s Dean Ritchie told Sky Sports Radio on Sunday the Blues great’s job “is on the line” in Perth where the Blues could surrender the series.
“He’s certainly feeling the heat,” Ritchie said of Fittler.
“His demeanour this week has changed quite unbelievably. Freddy is Freddy, he’s always the knockabout, but certainly he’s tightened up a little bit. The smile that was always on his face about 90 per cent of the time is only there about 50 per cent this week.
“Freddy’s job is on the line here. He’ll certainly see out the year, there’s no doubt about that in my eyes. He’s got a contract. You can’t sack a coach after one series loss.
“Certainly, the old Freddy has disappeared this week. He’s under as much pressure as anyone.”