The NSW Blues have unveiled a new halves combination for the opening game of the State of Origin series with Bulldogs duo Trent Hodkinson and Josh Reynolds replacing Roosters pair Mitchell Pearce and James Maloney.
Hodkinson is one of two debutants in Laurie Daley's Blues team named on Tuesday morning, with Roosters winger Daniel Tupou replacing James McManus on the wing for NSW.
Daley made seven changes to the team that finished last year's series with a two-point loss to the Maroons at ANZ Stadium.
Blues brothers in arms: halves duo Trent Hodkinson and Josh Reynolds. Photo: Getty Images
‘‘It was a tough decision to change halves but in the best interests of the team I thought it was necessary,’’ Daley said on Wednesday.
Daley said Pearce’s off-field problems, when he was arrested in King Cross after refusing to leave a nightclub, had taken part in the Roosters halfback being left out of the team.
‘‘I took everything into consideration, I've spoken to Mitch a number of times before I made the decision ... the right decision was to leave him out for game one.
NSW squad for Origin I
The 17 players who have been tasked with ending Queensland's eight-year winning streak in State of Origin. Photo: Getty Images
‘‘He's a wonderful man, but he's made an error and he knows what he has to do ... it's not a phone call you want to make and it's not a decision you take lightly."
Daley said it was a calculated gamble to go with the pairing of Hodkinson and Reynolds.
Asked if the team could halt Queensland's Origin domination, Daley said: ‘‘I can't answer that, I can only answer this - this team will be very well prepared ... you can never promise victory. All I know is you can prepare a football team as best as you possibly can.’’
As expected, Jarryd Hayne won the fullback jersey over St George Illawarra's Josh Dugan, set to play his first game for the Blues since starring in game one last year.
Andrew Fifita (ankle), Boyd Cordner (knee) and Greg Bird (suspended) are all unavailable for the first game at Suncorp Stadium next Wednesday night.
Knights backrower Beau Scott, who missed Monday night's clash against Manly with an abdominal strain, has been selected in the second row alongside fellow veteran Ryan Hoffman to play his first game for the Blues since 2012.
Also making his return to the Blues fold is Canterbury wrecking-ball Tony Williams, who also last represented his state two years ago.
Luke Lewis, Anthony Watmough and Trent Merrin have all been selected on the bench alongside Williams, with Aaron Woods to start in the front-row with James Tamou.
Skipper Paul Gallen, who missed last year's decider at ANZ Stadium through injury, has been selected in the familiar lock position.
Daley has stuck with the same centre pairing as last series with Canterbury's Josh Morris and Roosters' Michael Jennings to play inside of Brett Morris and Tupou.
NSW: Hayne, B Morris, J Morris, Jennings, Tupou, Reynolds, Hodkinson, Woods, Farah, Tamou, Scott, Hoffman, Gallen. Res: Merrin, Watmough, Williams, Lewis