State of Origin: Despite injury Nathan Cleary picked for decider, David Klemmer omitted

David Klemmer is on standby for the series decider.
David Klemmer is on standby for the series decider. Photo credit: Getty

NSW coach Brad Fittler is confident Nathan Cleary will recover in time to play in the State of Origin decider, but will leave the call to his young halfback.

Cleary and Tariq Sims were both named in an unchanged line-up to take on Queensland in the winners-take-all clash at ANZ Stadium on July 10.

Sims' hopes hinge on beating a dangerous-contact charge at the NRL judiciary on Tuesday, with unlucky omission David Klemmer on standby.

Fittler has defended his decision to overlook Klemmer for game three, saying it was made purely on their game-two triumph.

"It was a tough one, because we love Klem," Fittler said. "We love what he's about.

"It's one of those discussions that was hard, but he made it easy. His reaction was so refreshing.

"He just wished Tariq all the best. He said if he got the opportunity, he'd absolutely love coming into camp again.

origin teams
Photo credit: Newshub.

"That's why he's a valued member of any team he plays for, because he just loves what rugby league's about and he understands 'team'."

Cleary hasn't played since hurting his ankle deep into the first half of their series-levelling win in Perth, but arrived in camp on Monday without a moon boot.

"Since the game, things have progressed really well for Nathan," Fittler said on Monday night. "I just saw him up there with the physio working him. 

"[We're] just gonna get a plan together, because our trainer's back and everyone's together. I feel like he's going to be okay."

Fittler opted to push back the unveiling of his team, because of the short turnaround between matches and the number of NRL away trips for his players.

After Origin II, James Tedesco, Boyd Cordner, Josh Addo-Carr and Dale Finucane headed straight for Adelaide, while Blake Ferguson and Jack Wighton were in Darwin.

Veteran five-eighth James Maloney had a golden-point match in Auckland, while South Sydney duo Damien Cook and Cameron Murray had a four-day turn.

The Blues, who have their traditional boxing session Tuesday evening and a day off on Wednesday, won't have their first run until Thursday.

NSW hope to have Cleary back on the park for that session, giving him a crucial 48 hours to accelerate his recovery.

"He's one player you know that there'll be no shortcuts," Fittler said. "He'll end up making the final decision later on in the week." 

Nathan Cleary.
Nathan Cleary. Photo credit: Getty

The Blues are so confident Cleary will play that they have opted not to select a genuine playmaker as a back-up.

Should he be ruled out, Wade Graham is all-but certain to move into the halves and 18th man Clint Gutherson brought onto the bench.

"We're pretty confident he's going to play," Fittler said of Cleary.

"At the moment, Wade Graham did a fantastic job in Perth and also Jack Wighton [can play in the halves], so we feel like we're very safe at the moment [with] what we've got in camp."

NSW team for Origin III:
1-James Tedesco, 2-Blake Ferguson, 3-Tom Trbojevic, 4-Jack Wighton, 5-Josh Addo-Carr, 6-James Maloney, 7-Nathan Cleary, 8-Daniel Saifiti, 9-Damien Cook, 10-Paul Vaughan, 11-Boyd Cordner (capt), 12-Tyson Frizell, 13-Jake Trbojevic.

Bench: 14-Dale Finucane, 15-Tariq Sims, 16-Cameron Murray, 17-Wade Graham.


Join us at 10pm July 10 for live updates of Origin III