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Thursday, January 28, 2021

Saifiti to make Origin debut

Newcastle front rower Daniel Saifiti will make his State of Origin debut for NSW in Perth this weekend.

Saifiti replaces Knights teammate David Klemmer, who broke his wrist in the Blues’ 18-14 loss in game one at Suncorp Stadium.

The 23-year-old is among seven changes to Brad Fittler’s NSW side, with James Maloney, Tom Trbojevic, Tariq Sims, Blake Ferguson and Wade Graham all recalled in a bid to keep the series alive.

In-form Knights halfback Mitchell Pearce, who was set to make his NSW comeback, had to withdraw due to injury.

Pearce took a hip flexor injury into Newcastle’s 34-4 loss to Melbourne last Saturday and went on to suffer a corked thigh in the game.

For Queensland, Kalyn Ponga, instrumental in the Maroons’ second-half fightback in game one, will line-up again at fullback, while his Knights teammate and utility forward Tim Glasby has been named as an interchange.

Game two will kick off on Sunday 23 June at 7.50pm at Optus Stadium.

NSW squad: James Tedesco, Blake Ferguson, Tom Trbojevic, Jack Wighton, Josh Addo-Carr, James Maloney, Nathan Cleary, Daniel Saifiti, Damien Cook, Paul Vaughan, Boyd Cordner (c), Tyson Frizell, Jake Trbojevic. Interchange: Dale Finucane, Tariq Sims, Cameron Murray, Wade Graham.

Queensland squad: Kalyn Ponga, Corey Oates, Will Chambers, Dane Gagai, Cameron Munster, Daly Cherry-Evans, Dylan Napa, Ben Hunt, Josh Papalii, Felise Kaufusi, Matt Gillett, Josh McGuire. Interchange: Moses Mbye, Jarrod Wallace, Tim Glasby, David Fifita.

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