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Hopoate is ready for Origin: Daley

NSW coach Laurie Daley is adamant Will Hopoate is ready for a return to State of Origin after three years' absence.
Hopoate is ready for Origin: Daley
by AAP

By James Macsmith

SYDNEY, June 10 AAP - NSW coach Laurie Daley is adamant Will Hopoate is ready for a return to State of Origin after three years' absence.

Hopoate was on Tuesday selected in the Blues side for next week's second Origin match at ANZ Stadium.

He has played just 12 games since spending two years away from rugby league on a Mormon mission.

The Parramatta star comes onto the NSW right wing in place of the injured Brett Morris and Daley said he has no doubt Hopoate, who played his one and only interstate game in NSW's 18-8 win in Origin II in 2011, is ready.

"We are confident that he can handle it and while he has been out of the game over the last two years, the games that he has played this year he hasn't looked out of place," Daley said.

"He played well in the City-Country game and I think that he is a kid that the more you give him the more he wants and he will handle it well.

"He is someone that will be a part of this team for years to come.

"There are areas he still needs to improve on, but he is a guy that is willing to learn and absorbs information very well and I think you can see from his first game to his 12th game (this year) how far he has come."

Josh Dugan comes into the right centre spot for Josh Morris, who is also sidelined for next Wednesday's clash.

"Josh is a footballer, he is a big game player, he was close to our best player last year in the series, albeit it in a different position," Daley said.

With Gold Coast back-rower Greg Bird returning from suspension, NSW captain Paul Gallen moves to prop to accommodate the Blues enforcer.

That pushes James Tamou onto the bench with Tony Williams dumped from the Blues side which leads the series 1-0 and is searching to break Queensland's eight-year stranglehold on Origin.

The Blues head to their Coffs Harbour base on Tuesday night ahead of next Wednesday's sold out match.

Queensland named a 22-man squad on Monday, to deal with injury worries, with Greg Inglis (ankle) and Billy Slater (shoulder) the biggest concerns.

NSW side: Jarryd Hayne, Will Hopoate, Josh Dugan, Michael Jennings, Daniel Tupou, Josh Reynolds, Trent Hodkinson, Paul Gallen (c), Robbie Farah, Aaron Woods, Ryan Hoffman, Beau Scott, Greg Bird. Interchange: James Tamou, Anthony Watmough, Trent Merrin, Luke Lewis.




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