2022-07-01 23:09:00

Billy Slater could be without veteran forward Felise Kaufusi for the series decider, with the Storm star currently in the United States for family reasons.

Kaufusi missed Thursday night’s match against Manly after travelling to Los Angeles earlier this week to be with his hospitalised father Taniela, as first reported by News Corp. Kaufusi’s return date is currently unknown, but he could well miss out on a 15th Origin appearance.

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David Fifita is in line for an Origin recall.
David Fifita is in line for an Origin recall.Source: Getty Images

News Corp reports that David Fifita could be an Origin bolter to replace Kaufusi, with the Titans star finally set to return for the Gold Coast in Saturday’s clash with the Knights. Fifita has been hamstrung by two knee injuries which have seen him play just once in the Titans’ last seven games.

His Titans teammate Beau Fermor was a Maroons reserve for Game Two, and the pair could be having a friendly showdown this weekend for the right to replace Kaufusi.

Cowboys young gun Jeremiah Nanai would be another option, the 19-year-old having come off the bench for QLD this series, but Fifita’s ability at Origin level might tip the odds in his favour.

COBBO’S PLEA TO SLATER AFTER GAME 2 NIGHTMARE

Maroon rookie Selwyn Cobbo has pleaded with coach Billy Slater to stick with him for the State of Origin decider after struggling in Game 2.

Cobbo will face a selection showdown with Murray Tualagu when the Broncos take on the Cowboys on Saturday night with club teammate Corey Oates waiting in the wings.

“I hope Billy picks me in the team again,” Cobbo told the Courier Mail.

“I’m not sure (if he will be picked for Game Three), I have to perform well this week and hopefully Billy wants me back there.

I’ve been shocked at how tough Origin is. It’s a different game to NRL. I’ve enjoyed it, but it’s really physical and faster than anything I have ever played.”

According to the Courier Mail, there is a belief within the Maroons camp that two rookie wingers leaves them vulnerable and could prompt a selection switch.

Selwyn Cobbo’s spot in the Maroons side is under threatSource: Getty Images

O’BRIEN ANNOYED AT PONGA ABSENCE

Kalyn Ponga has been forced to miss the Knights’ clash with the Titans this weekend due to concussion protocols, and coach Adam O’Brien isn’t overly pleased.

O’Brien noted that the Queensland doctor cleared Ponga in a HIA after game two, but the NRL Bunker adjudged the player to have suffered a category one concussion – ruling him out of action for one week.

O’Brien said: “The first process for us is let’s go and clear all that up with the specialists that know a hell of a lot more than me, and that should clear the rest (up).

“He passed the assessment with the Queensland doctor after the game … number one for me as a coach, but then also as someone that cares about him (is) he was OK.

“The frustration is the people that are actually talking to him and doing the assessment don’t get the final decision.

“We’ll send him off to the specialists and make sure everything’s right, but he’s in there and I had a chat … he seems pretty good.”

Ponga is expected to return for Game III.

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O’Brien confident despite season start | 03:53

BELLAMY CONFIDENT MUNSTER WILL BE RIGHT

Melbourne Storm coach Craig Bellamy is confident Cameron Munster will recover from a shoulder injury suffered in Game 2 in time to feature in the finale.

Munster missed Melbourne’s defeat to the Sea Eagles on Thursday night, but Bellamy revealed after the game that Munster had been close to playing – and should be fine come Origin.

Bellamy said: “He’ll be there. He wasn’t far off playing today I don’t think. Sometimes with Munster you get mixed messages. I think Tuesday he was playing and then he wasn’t playing but I’m pretty sure he’s going to be right for Origin.”

JOEY BACKS BURTON TO STICK

NSW boss Brad Fittler is also facing some tough decisions, but Andrew Johns believes Matt Burton ‘must stay’ in the Blues side.

Jack Wighton and Latrell Mitchell have been touted as possible options to join the Blues team that crushed QLD 44-12 in game two.

And while Johns had sympathy for Wighton, who missed the Perth victory due to Covid-19, he wrote for Fairfax: “But you simply can’t replace Matt Burton. He must stay.

“He has the gift; the gift of being in the right place at the right time.”

DCE’s delightful night out at Brookvale | 01:45

#Game #team #tips #NSW #Blues #Queensland #Maroons #selections #injuries #David #Fifita #Felise #Kaufusi #Selwyn #Cobbo

Source by [graycupnews.com]

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