Blues bombshell: Fittler loses faith in NSW star

BRAD Fittler is backing Tariq Sims to beat a judiciary charge and will name him for Game Three, but it's the absence of another star in the NSW side that will come as a huge surprise.

Fittler will name a 19-man squad to face Queensland at 6pm Monday, with St George Illawarra star Sims to keep his place following a strong showing in game two.

Sims has elected to fight a grade two dangerous tackle charge for the hit that knocked out North Queensland captain and Maroons centre Michael Morgan in the Dragons' 22-14 win over the Cowboys at WIN Stadium last Saturday night.

 

Tariq Sims is set to keep his place in the Blues side. Picture: Getty Images
Tariq Sims is set to keep his place in the Blues side. Picture: Getty Images

 

There are suggestions from within the NSW Origin camp that Newcastle Knights enforcer David Klemmer will miss out if Sims is successful in beating the charge at the judiciary on Tuesday night.

This is a major shock, considering Klemmer was the standout forward on the park in Origin I and had a blinder for the Knights in his comeback game from a broken wrist against Brisbane on Saturday, which Newcastle won convincingly, 26-12.

 

David Klemmer could be overlooked for the Origin decider. Picture: Adam Head
David Klemmer could be overlooked for the Origin decider. Picture: Adam Head

 

Whatever happens, his Newcastle teammate Daniel Saifiti will retain his position in the side as a reward for his performance in the Blues' 38-6 game two victory in Perth.

Fittler will also name halfback Nathan Cleary at No.7, despite doubts about his fitness in regards to an ankle injury.

The Blues are expected to go with Wade Graham at five-eighth and James Maloney at halfback if Cleary is ruled out, but there is a chance Mitchell Pearce could be chosen.

That would leave Ryan Matterson to come on to the bench as the utility player.

Matterson has been a shadow player in the squad all series and has impressed the Blues' coaching staff with his input and ability, as a utility, to play several positions.