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Why Queensland legend believes Watson’s Blues selection was much needed


Queensland Maroons' legendary former assistant coach Cameron Smith has admitted that the Game II side for the NSW Blues is stronger than the outfit selected by coach Michael Maguire in the series opener.

‘Madge’ has swung the axe ahead of the crucial clash, making five changes and stealing the headlines with the contentious inclusion of Latrell Mitchell.

Along with Mitchell, Maguire has welcomed back Mitchell Moses, Dylan Edwards and Cameron Murray whilst Connor Watson is set to make his NSW debut off the bench.

The selection of Watson caught many off guard with the Roosters’ utility seemingly jumping the queue ahead of the likes of Cameron McInnes and Matt Burton.

Reflecting on Sunday night’s squad announcement, Smith admitted he likes the look of this side for the Blues ahead of the second game.

“I think overall it’s a stronger footy side, there’s no doubt about it,” Smith said on SEN 1170 Breakfast.

“I think there’s a lot more football in this lineup… on paper and you can read into what you will, the inclusion of Latrell Mitchell of course, Mitch Moses goes to seven, (he’s) been there before knows how to win Origin matches.

“Connor Watson that’s the big one for me, I don’t know if he was in the mix for Game I before he had that throat or neck injury, he’s the man now that can create so much utility value for this footy side now.

“Does that mean Reece Robson plays the full 80 minutes? Not sure.”

Smith admitted he is a big fan of Watson being selected due to his infusion of energy coming off the bench for the Blues.

“He (Watson) can play different positions, he’s done a great job as a utility for the Roosters coming on as a 13 and can play a bit of back row if he has to,” Smith added.

“The thing that he does is plenty of energy and that’s what you need at this level.

“That’s what the Blues need for Game II because it’s do or die for them, they dropped Game I and they have to win this one at a neutral venue.

“They need to be better and so do Queensland, speaking with the coach after Game I, he wasn’t entirely happy with the way they played, great result of course but I think he acknowledged they were playing against 12 men for pretty much the majority of that match.

“This one is going to be a cracker, it’s a very, very strong lineup.”

The Maroons will look to close out the series for a third straight year when State of Origin heads to Melbourne for Game II on June 26.

Sydney Roosters Rugby League State of Origin

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