The countdown to the Origin decider is on with the Maroons hosting the Blues at Suncorp Stadium with the series on the line in a do or die clash.
Read on for all the latest news and updates in the build-up to Origin III.
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MOMENT THAT LEFT FREDDY HEARTBROKEN
Blues coach Brad Fittler has revealed he was devastated by the injury that cost veteran Jordan McLean his first NSW jersey.
McLean was rubbed out of the decider due to a hamstring injury suffered at training, which robbed the 30-year-old of his maiden Blues cap.
In his column in The Sydney Morning Herald, Fittler admiited the unfortunate injury hit him hard.
“I must admit to being gutted during the week at Jordan McLean’s hamstring injury,” Fittler wrote in The Sydney Morning Herald.
“I found it just so hard to talk to him after he tweaked it on Thursday, ruling him out of his Origin debut.
“Just looking at him, I was heartbroken. I was sitting at dinner on Thursday night and someone said, “you look tired”.
“I didn’t say anything, but that was probably why. He was on the verge of being in the NSW side five or six years ago, and then things didn’t turn out right with some injuries and a few rough years at the Cowboys.
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However, Fittler believes McLean’s replacement Jacob Saifiti will rise to the challenge in his Origin debut and even credited former NSW star and Knights teammate David Klemmer with getting him ready for the rigours of Origin footy.
“When one door closes, another one opens,” Fittler wrote.
“I like Jacob Saifiti’s game. For a big bloke he moves pretty quick, and I think his aggressive game will suit us.
“I’ve been watching him a lot through his twin brother. I’ve spoken to Daniel a lot about Jacob.
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“They’re very similar in a lot of ways they go about their footy. And you could see once Daniel made Origin, something happened to Jacob. He pulled his finger out and went about just being better, being more reliable.
“A little bit of credit has to go to David Klemmer too. I reckon Jacob has been learning a lot off him, and I think Klemmer has been pretty important helping Jacob get to this point.
“Jacob was part of the extended squad this week until Jordan’s injury and we take our job of picking those players outside the 18 very seriously.”