NSW Name Same Team For Origin Game III, But There's A Twist

Never again for a Blue with 18 caps?

The Origin career of Mitchell Pearce might be over, after NSW selectors picked the same team that won State of Origin Game II 38-6 for the decider in Sydney on July 10.

READ MORE: The Moment You Knew NSW Were Going To Destroy Queensland

Halfback Nathan Cleary -- who injured his ankle just before halftime in Game II -- has been named in the team, and it's believed he will heal in time.

If not, Wade Graham will switch to five-eighth and James Maloney will go to halfback.

Ouch. Cleary goes down in Game II. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

The big surprise to many fans is that Newcastle's Mitchell Pearce has not been named as cover for Cleary. Pearce was considered highly likely to be picked for Origin II, but was unavailable due to injury.

He's right to go now, but the man who had the misfortune to play the bulk of his 18 previous Origins in Queensland's record-breaking eight year streak appears to have had his papers stamped "last resort only".

READ MORE: New Look GAME III Queensland Origin Team Includes Harvard Student

NSW coach Brad Fittler may or may not win this series, but he's definitely won the beanie war. Image: Getty.

The other interesting selection is that of Tariq Sims on the bench. Sims came in when was NSW enforcer David Klemmer was unavailable for Game II. Klemmer's good to go now, but Sims has held him out.

That is, assuming Sims gets off at the judiciary on Tuesday night. The Dragon was handed a grade two dangerous contact charge after a hit on North Queensland Cowboys five-eighth (and Queensland player) Michael Morgan on Friday night.

If he fails to beat the charge, Klemmer will be back in.

Parramatta captain Clint Gutherson, who has been named as 18th man, will take Wade Graham's spot on the bench if Nathan Cleary fails to prove his fitness.

The team is:

1) James Tedesco

2) Blake Ferguson

3) Tom Trbojevic

4) Jack Wighton

5) Josh Addo-Carr

6) James Maloney

7) Nathan Cleary

8) Daniel Saifiti

9) Damien Cook

10) Paul Vaughan

11) Boyd Cordner (C)

12) Tyson Frizell

13) Jake Trbojevic


14) Dale Finucane

15) Tariq Sims

16) Cameron Murray

17) Wade Graham