NSW’s State of Origin injury woes have deepened with Payne Haas ruled out of game two due to a hamstring strain.
Haas played 64 minutes in Brisbane’s 38-10 NRL defeat at Parramatta on Saturday but Blues coach Brad Fittler said on Sunday the 19-year-old won’t be available for next week’s clash in Perth.
Haas, who debuted in NSW’s loss to Queensland in game one, joins Nick Cotric (ankle) and David Klemmer (wrist) on the sidelines for the Blues.
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Manly’s Tom Trbojevic is in contention to replace Cotric, provided he comes through Sunday’s NRL game against St George Illawarra, while the Eels’ Blake Ferguson is another option.
With Klemmer and now Haas sidelined, Newcastle’s Daniel Safiti, Brisbane’s Matt Lodge, Melbourne’s Dale Finucane and Penrith duo Reagan Campbell-Gillard and James Tamou are all in contention to be in the Blues’ pack.
Fittler said whichever player get the nod, he wants a team which is prepared to stand up to keep the series alive.
“I need to know the players that we’re going to pick and what we’re going to deliver,” Fittler told the Nine Network.
“We were a bit wishy-washy in Queensland.
“Although we did only go down by four points, the things that made us great last year were the effort areas, we worked so hard for each other. “We were down to 12 players last year twice and we just sort of fought through it.
“We didn’t see it. We lacked that little bit of hunger.
“As a coach I need to be comfortable with the players that I picked are going to go out there and have that.”
Payne Haas has been ruled out of Origin II with a hamstring injury.Source:AAP
One player poised for an Origin recall is half Mitchell Pearce, who is expected to get the nod ahead of Cody Walker after his recent NRL form for Newcastle. Fittler said despite Pearce’s horror Origin history, the time is right for the 30-year-old to deliver for the blues if included in the team, which will be announced at 6pm on Sunday.
“He’s seen a lot of the bad side but I think there’s a team there that, if he does get picked, he’ll get a chance to see the good side of State of Origin,” Fittler said.
“A lot of people really nervous about what Mitchell brings with him but all I’ve seen of Newcastle – and at the back end of last year as well so it’s not only the last couple of weeks – he’s just a bloke who’s really focused and he wants to play State of Origin.”
Originally published asPayne Haas ruled out of Origin II
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