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Blues Origin III team: Reynolds, Moses in No.7 battle; Wighton in for Luai

The race for the NSW halfback's jersey is down to two - Mitch Moses and Adam Reynolds - with Jack Wighton being given the chance to start at five-eighth.

Speaking on Fox League's Saturday night game coverage, Blues advisor Greg Alexander said securing a No.7 with a solid kicking game was the key to replacing the injured Nathan Cleary (shoulder).

"It will either be Mitch Moses or Adam Reynolds," Alexander said. "They are both very good kickers and we need someone to take over the kicking game that Nathan has supplied NSW for the last couple of games."

NSW now need two new halves for the Origin finale on July 14, with scans on Saturday revealing five-eighth Jarome Luai suffered a medial ligament injury in Friday night's win over Parramatta.

Alexander had earlier confirmed Luai was "no chance" of playing in Origin III.

That means selectors are likely to bring Wighton off the bench to start at No.6 - a position he plays each week with the Canberra Raiders.

Match Highlights: Maroons v Blues

"With Jarome out I think Jack deserves his spot," Alexander said.

"It was nip and tuck between Jack and Jarome before Game I on who was going to start and partner Nathan Cleary.

"We went with Jarome because of the club combination and the fact Jarome has been in terrific form for the last 18 months," he said.

Alexander gave no indication of who might fill the No.14 jersey with Wighton's promotion.

Of course, NSW also needs a new goal-kicker with Cleary missing.

Both Reynolds and Moses fill that duty for the Rabbitohs and Eels respectively but Alexander threw Latrell Mitchell's name into the mix.

Maroons v Blues

He was the regular kicker for his former club the Sydney Roosters and has only kicked at South Sydney if Reynolds was off the field injured.

"There’s no reason why you wouldn’t throw the ball to Latrell, but you’d rather have someone that’s kicking week-in, week-out," Alexander said.

Blues coach Brad Fittler said on Friday that he would be keenly watching the round 16 NRL games this weekend.

Parramatta went down 13-12 after Moses missed a penalty goal at the death that would have won the Eels the two competition points.

Reynolds is still to undergo his 'audition' when the Rabbitohs face the Wests Tigers on Sunday. He has played two games for NSW previously in the 2016 series.

Fittler indicated the missed goal but Moses wouldn't be held against him.

"I watched Mitch [Moses] last night; from my point of view, he did a really good job, got them out of trouble," Fittler said on Triple M.

"If he doesn’t play and his kicking game isn't that good then Parramatta needed to score four tries [to win], I think.

"His kicking game was fantastic. It was unfortunate that he didn’t get that goal at the end but it is what it is.

Match Highlights: Panthers v Eels

"There are a few other pretty good players that have played before for NSW playing over the weekend so I think the good thing is we have a bit of time. We'll name [the squad on] Sunday.

"But the team comes together on Tuesday, so while we've got time on our side we may as well use it." 

Reynolds received a ringing endorsement yesterday from club coach and ex-Maroons mentor Wayne Bennett.

"[Adam brings] great stability, he'd stick to the game-plan and help everybody else play really well, what he does here for us," Bennett said.

"There are no weaknesses in his game. He's got a great kicking game and he'd pick up where Cleary left off. It'd be a natural fit.

"It's a different game now [but] they'll still want to win it. They'll put every effort into winning it, but with the series [won] and going into the third game, it depends what they're looking for.

"They might be looking for someone for the future. [But] Adam Reynolds will not let anybody down. Everyone knows how he plays and sees him play, so that's up to them now."

The only other known injury concern for the Blues is Jack Trbojevic and his strained glute muscle.

Trbojevic missed Origin II after suffering the injury at Manly training. Sea Eagles coach Des Hasler has said Trbojevic is "a chance" of facing Canberra in round 17 - six days before the series finale.

If Trbojevic is ruled out, forward Liam Martin looks assured of holding his spot on the interchange after Angus Crichton seemed to solidify his position with a huge effort in his game-two comeback.

 

 

Likely team: 

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