Rivals: Jarrod Mullen (left) will go head to head with Canterbury’s Josh Reynolds for the Blues No.6 jersey.

Rivals: Jarrod Mullen (left) will go head to head with Canterbury’s Josh Reynolds for the Blues No.6 jersey. Photo: Getty Images

Josh Reynolds and Jarrod Mullen will fight it out for the NSW No.6 jersey in Sunday’s City-Country clash at Dubbo, but there is a chance both could be in the Origin squad after Blues coach Laurie Daley asked that Reynolds also be given time at hooker.

With incumbent five-eighth James Maloney and his predecessor Todd Carney both injured on the weekend, the duel between Reynolds and Mullen is set to be a main focal point of the City-Country match to decide who partners Mitchell Pearce at the NSW scrumbase in Origin I.

South Sydney’s John Sutton is another contender but he has been rested from the City team due to a groin injury, along with Pearce and Newcastle utility Kurt Gidley.

Stiff competition: Canterbury’s Josh Reynolds.

Stiff competition: Canterbury’s Josh Reynolds. Photo: Getty Images

Canterbury hooker Michael Ennis and Parramatta’s Nathan Peats (City) were ruled out of the annual fixture by ankle injuries, giving St George Illawarra’s Mitch Rein a chance to push his Origin claims with the Country team.

But City coach Brad Fittler revealed that Daley also wants to see how Reynolds performs at dummy half, with a view to selecting him as the bench utility in the series opener at Suncorp Stadium on May 28.

As a result, Gold Coast five-eighth Aidan Sezer has been chosen on the City bench, while Canterbury halfback Trent Hodkinson is the 18th man in an indication he would come under consideration for Origin if Pearce did not play.

‘‘Speaking to Laurie Daley about the team, he wants to see how [Reynolds] goes at hooker as well so that is a reason for Aidan Sezer and some of those halves are on the bench,’’ Fittler said.

‘‘He has been playing fantastic at five-eighth and he is also a chance of being in the 17 if he can play hooker so it is a great opportunity for him.’’

Fittler nominated Greg Bird as another five-eighth option on The Sunday Footy Show but he said that was his personal opinion.

‘‘I have always liked Greg Bird at five-eighth, purely because he is a great defender and I just feel Josh Reynolds should be there somewhere,’’ he said. ‘‘I know the one thing Laurie Daley has kept close to his chest is who is going to play five-eighth, so I don’t know.’’

Asked about the decision to rest Sutton, Fittler said: ‘‘We know what he can do, he has been doing it for a long time and if Laurie wants to go with John Sutton he has got full confidence in him even if he doesn’t play in the City-Country game’’.

Country coach Trent Barrett used the example of Andrew Fifita and Boyd Cordner being chosen in last year’s City-Country match and going on to play for Australia at the end-of-season World Cup to highlight the opportunities for players on Sunday.

‘‘Particularly in the halves with Carney going down the other night and Maloney going down, there is a real opportunity there for somebody,’’ Barrett said.

‘‘Jarrod Mullen has got himself back in contention, there is John Sutton and Josh Reynolds. It is a big game for him so there is a lot to play for for a lot of the guys and I haven’t picked anyone in our side without something to play for – whether they are a debutant or whether they have been here before. There is a NSW team to be picked in a month or so and with Fifita and Cordner, this was their rep debut and they ended up playing for Australia.’’

After starring for NSW and Australia last season, Fifita has been dumped from the Kangaroos team to play New Zealand on Friday night and will pack down alongside Aaron Woods in the City front row.

‘‘Some blokes could get a bit down about it or they could use it to motivate them,’’ Fittler said of Fifita. ‘‘It was this game last year that Andrew Fifita got picked on the bench, he came on, made a big impact and had a blinder. He ended up touring at the end of the year, he played Origin during the year and this is where it all started so he might see it as a nice way to get back on the horse.’’

Parramatta prop Tim Mannah (eardrum) and Joseph Leilua (patella) were also ruled out of the City team.

NSW City: Matt Moylan, Daniel Tupou, Will Hopoate, Dylan Walker, Jorge Taufua, Josh Reynolds, A Reynolds, Andrew Fifita, Beau Falloon, Aaron Woods, Tony Williams, Ryan Hoffman (capt), Wade Graham. Interchange: Jamie Buhrer, David Klemmer, Tim Grant, Aidan Sezer. 18th man: Trent Hodkinson.

NSW Country: Josh Dugan, Michael Gordon, Jack Wighton, Jamal Idris, James McManus, Tyrone Roberts, Trent Merrin, Mitch Rein, Aiden Tolman (capt), Beau Scott, Josh Jackson, Adam Docker. Interchange: Josh McCrone, Paul Vaughan, Dale Finucane, Tariq Sims. 18th man: TBA