Andrew Johns ignored as Latrell Mitchell recalled, Tedesco and Hynes axed for State of Origin

The NSW team for State of Origin 2 has been announced - with some big calls made.

Andrew Johns' call for NSW to pick Cody Walker for State of Origin 2 has fallen on deaf ears, but Michael Maguire has still swing a raft of changes. The Blues coach announced his squad for Game 2 on Sunday night, with Latrell Mitchell winning a recall after weeks of calls from NRL fans and pundits.

James Tedesco and Nicho Hynes have been dropped again, with Dylan Edwards and Mitchell Moses coming in at fullback and halfback respectively. It marks the second time in three weeks that Tedesco has been dumped after he was initially overlooked for Game I, only to win a reprieve when Edwards suffered a quad injury at training.

Latrell Mitchell, James Tedesco, Nicho Hynes and Andrew Johns.
Latrell Mitchell (L) is in, James Tedesco and Nicho Hynes (centre) are out, while Andrew Johns' (R) call for Cody Walker to be picked was ignored. Image: Getty

And it marks the second year running that Hynes has been dumped after the first game of the series, with Maguire preferring Moses at halfback after he failed to prove his fitness for Game 1. Moses hasn't exactly set the world on fire since returning for the Eels, but starred in Game 3 last year and provides a better kicking game than Hynes.

Moses will partner Jarome Luai in the halves, with the Panthers five-eighth retaining his place at 6. Matty and Andrew Johns had both called for Cody Walker to be recalled after he won man of the match in Game 3 last year, but Maguire has stuck solid with Luai.

James Tedesco, Jake Trbojevic and Nicho Hynes.
James Tedesco, Jake Trbojevic and Nicho Hynes in State of Origin I. Image: Getty

"I think Mitch Moses and Cody Walker compliment each other far better than a Moses-Luai combination," Andrew Johns said on Channel 9 on Sunday. "I'd go with Cody. He unlocks the left side and last year in Game 3, Walker came into the team and the game plan was pretty simple.

"He knows what plays to put on, when to get the ball, how far to go into the line - he is a throwback to Cliff Lyons. He's got to show the coach something, but if he gets in there among players in form and a forward pack going forward, I have no doubts that he would shoot the lights out."

Cameron Murray has also been recalled after returning from injury, with Cameron McInnes the unlucky man to make way. McInnes was one of the Blues' best in Game I but has been axed from the 17.

And Maguire has swung a huge selection surprise by picking Connor Watson on the bench for his utility value, while Matt Burton has also been axed from the squad. Watson can play in the halves or hooker and will provide cover for any injuries in the back-line, which NSW didn't really have in Game I. Burton will feel hard-done by after he was 18th man in Game I, and provides a similar utility value to Watson.

But the big talking point will be Mitchell's inclusion, with the South Sydney star to play his first Origin game since 2021. Mitchell was picked to play for NSW last year but a calf injury ruled him out, and his form declined at the back end of 2023.

But he has returned to top form over the last few weeks, and Maguire couldn't ignore him any longer. Mitchell will slot in at centre - where he has excelled for NSW in the past - after Joseph Suaalii copped a four-match ban for his hit that knocked Reece Walsh out of Origin I.

"I'm ready to go to Melbourne and give it to some Queenslanders," he said over the weekend. "I wasn't in the right head space before Game I. At the same time, I was probably a bit filthy I didn't get picked, to be honest. I was playing god there for a little bit. I didn't know what I wanted. I played with fire a little bit. The doubt was there. I was scared about being thrown under the bus again but now I know where I stand as a player. I'm ready to go if I get picked. I won't let the state down."

RELATED:

  1. Dylan Edwards

  2. Brian To'o

  3. Stephen Crichton

  4. Latrell Mitchell

  5. Zac Lomax

  6. Jarome Luai

  7. Mitch Moses

  8. Jake Trbojevic (capt)

  9. Reece Robson

  10. Payne Haas

  11. Liam Martin

  12. Angus Crichton

  13. Cameron Murray

  14. Connor Watson

  15. Isaah Yeo

  16. Haumole Olakau'atu

  17. Spencer Leniu

Reserves: Mitchell Barnett, Cameron McInnes, Luke Keary