However, in a bid to strengthen their side even further front-rower Ryan James was one of three new players called into the NSW squad last Sunday (June 17) for the second State of Origin rugby league match against Queensland.
James is joined by prop Matt Prior and stand-off Luke Keary in a 20-man squad named by coach Brad Fittler for the game in Sydney on Sunday (June 24), after the opening 22-12 win over Queensland in Melbourne.
The only player missing from the series opener is front-rower Reagan Campbell-Gillard, who suffered a broken jaw playing for the Penrith Panthers in last Friday’s (June 15) club match against the Sydney Roosters.
NSW centre Latrell Mitchell will need to prove his fitness after suffering a neck injury playing for the Roosters in the same match.
Meanwhile, exciting young fullback Kalyn Ponga was named in Queensland’s squad on Monday (June 18) for the second State of Origin rugby league game.
Ponga, 20, has been outstanding in his first season for the Newcastle Knights and replaces Anthony Milford in an 18-man squad.
“He’s been playing some good football for the Newcastle Knights this year and he’s been knocking on the door. He was very close (to being selected) for game one,” Queensland coach Kevin Walters said.
“It’s a great opportunity for him. He’s a been a standout in the competition and he’s got the potential to be a long-term player (for Queensland).”
Test fullback Billy Slater was included pending a fitness test on a hamstring injury that ruled him out of game one.
Walters said he was confident Slater would be fit to make his return for the Maroons after sitting out Melbourne Storm’s club win over the Knights last Sunday.
Queensland will give prop Dylan Napa more time to recover from an ankle injury he suffered while playing for the Sydney Roosters over last weekend, with Tim Glasby on standby.
Queensland must beat the Blues in Sydney on Sunday to keep the interstate series alive after losing the opening game.
Jai Arrow, Will Chambers, Gavin Cooper, Dane Gagai, Tim Glasby, Coen Hess, Valentine Holmes, Ben Hunt, Greg Inglis (capt), Felise Kaufusi, Andrew McCullough, Josh McGuire, Cameron Munster, Dylan Napa, Josh Papalii, Kalyn Ponga, Billy Slater, Jarrod Wallace.
Josh Addo-Carr, Nathan Cleary, Damien Cook, Boyd Cordner (capt), Angus Crichton, Jack de Belin, Tyson Frizell, Ryan James, Luke Keary, David Klemmer, James Maloney, Latrell Mitchell, Tyrone Peachey, Matt Prior, James Roberts, Tariq Sims, James Tedesco, Jake Trbojevic, Tom Trbojevic, Paul Vaughan.