Blues suffer huge Origin blows

NSW's State of Origin injury woes have deepened with Payne Haas and Mitchell Pearce both unavailable for game two due to injury.

Haas played 64 minutes in Brisbane's 38-10 NRL defeat at Parramatta on Saturday but suffered a hamstring injury and won't play in next Sunday's clash in Perth.

Pearce, who had been in line for an Origin recall, spoke to NSW coach Brad Fittler on Sunday morning and ruled himself out due to a hip injury sustained in Newcastle's defeat to Melbourne on Saturday.

The pair join Nick Cotric (ankle) and David Klemmer (wrist) on the sidelines for the Blues, giving Fittler numerous selection headaches before he names his team at 6pm on Sunday.

Manly's Tom Trbojevic is in contention to replace Cotric, provided he comes through Sunday's NRL game against St George Illawarra, while the Eels' Blake Ferguson is another option.

With Klemmer and now Haas sidelined, Newcastle's Daniel Safiti, Brisbane's Matt Lodge, Melbourne's Dale Finucane and Penrith duo Reagan Campbell-Gillard and James Tamou are all in contention for a spot in the Blues' pack. Cronulla's Wade Graham is also being mooted for a comeback despite being just two games back from a knee injury.

Pearce's injury may be a reprieve for Cody Walker, with the South Sydney half believed to have been the casualty for the 30-year-old Knights' halves return to the Origin arena.

Penrith's James Maloney is also understood to be in the mix for a recall. Fittler said whichever player get the nod he wants a team which is prepared to stand up to keep the series alive.

"I need to know the players that we're going to pick and what we're going to deliver," Fittler told the Nine Network.

"We were a bit wishy-washy in Queensland.

"Although we did only go down by four points, the things that made us great last year were the effort areas, we worked so hard for each other. "We were down to 12 players last year twice and we just sort of fought through it.

"We didn't see it. We lacked that little bit of hunger.

"As a coach I need to be comfortable with the players that I picked are going to go out there and have that."

News Corp Australia


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