NSW desperate for State of Origin whitewash
NSW prop Aaron Woods insists the Blues have no intention of taking their foot off Queensland’s throat and are desperate to complete a 3-0 State of Origin whitewash.
Woods will be named in Laurie Daley’s side tomorrow having helped wrap up a first series win in nine years at ANZ Stadium two weeks ago after winning game one in Brisbane in May.
Despite having already ended the Maroons’ dominance, Woods said becoming only the third NSW team to win in Brisbane twice in one series is enough incentive to not to treat the July 9 encounter at Suncorp Stadium as a dead rubber.
Phil Gould’s 1996 outfit are the last side from south of the Tweed to beat Queensland twice in their own back yard, 10 years after Ron Willey’s side became the first.
NSW haven’t whitewashed Queensland since 2000 and Wests Tigers star Woods expects the team’s build-up in Coffs Harbour to be as intense and thorough as it was for games one and two.
‘‘Nothing changes, nothing whatsoever,’’ Woods said.
‘‘We celebrated and enjoyed winning after game two but no-one thinks yet that the job is fully done.
‘‘It would be a pretty hollow feeling to lift the Origin Shield in Brisbane having been flogged.
‘‘It would be a dream come true to win 3-0 up there and I know Laurie and the coaching team won’t let us take our foot off the pedal.’’
Daley will have to shuffle his pack for the game with Will Hopoate, Michael Jennings and Anthony Watmough out due to injury and suspension.
Hopoate has a shoulder problem and Jennings tore the muscle that connects his shoulder to his back – both injuries were sustained in game two.
Watmough is serving a four match-ban for a dangerous lift on Nate Myles in the same game.
Canterbury’s Josh Morris is set to come back into the side for Jennings having recovered from a knee ligament issue picked up in the series opener.
Boyd Cordner is also in line for a recall in place of Watmough having proved his fitness in the Sydney Roosters’ loss to Manly after seven weeks out with ankle syndesmosis.
Newcastle’s James McManus, who played in game three last year and scored a try is the favourite to replace Hopoate on the wing.
However, Wests Tigers veteran Pat Richards is also being considered with Manly’s Jorge Taufua and Penrith’s Josh Mansour also in the running.
Woods said 32-year-old Richards, who is the NRL’s leading points scorer and bagged nine tries this season, wouldn’t let anyone down if he was selected.
‘‘Patty has been awesome this season, I would love to see him get picked,’’ he said.
‘‘There are a lot of great wingers to choose from, but he’s playing as well as anyone in the NRL.’’
Possible NSW team: Jarryd Hayne, Daniel Tupou, Josh Dugan, Josh Morris, James McManus, Josh Reynolds, Trent Hodkinson, Aaron Woods, Robbie Farah, Paul Gallen (capt), Ryan Hoffman, Beau Scott, Greg Bird. Interchange: Luke Lewis, Boyd Cordner, James Tamou, Trent Merrin.