Michael Jennings and Daniel Tupou will resume their lethal left-side combination for the NSW Blues after being selected as expected for Origin II. Neither will be available when the Roosters take on the Knights this Saturday, with Nene Macdonald expected to take Tupou’s spot after an impressive debut against the Bulldogs three rounds ago, and Aubusson to take Jenko’s centre spot.
Jennings was largely kept quiet in game one but his defence was exceptional, while Tupou had a mixed game with four errors but a noticeable improvement as the game went on, including several big runs bringing the ball out of pressure.
He dropped a couple under the high ball, but with the Morris twins out injured there was no chance coach Laurie Daley was going to drop the rookie rep, especially considering they won and the left side defence didn’t leak a single point.
Since returning to the Roosters, Tupou has been in magnificent form with three tries and 11 tackle busts along with 13.5 runs a game and 135 metres a game — or 10 metres per run. He’s also had two line breaks and been safe as fuck under the high-ball.
Jennings has been a little quieter in terms of spectacular play since game one, but he’s been heavily involved especially in the game against the Storm with 133 metres from 15 runs. Regardless, his past Origin performances mean he’s as close to an automatic starter in that arena as you can get.
They are the only Roosters selected for NSW, while Aidan Guerra was selected as part of an extended squad for Queensland, and is a certainty to play.
New South Wales Team for Origin II
Jarryd Hayne, Will Hopoate, Josh Dugan, Michael Jennings, Daniel Tupou, Josh Reynolds, Trent Hodkinson, Paul Gallen, Robbie Farah, Aaron Woods, Ryan Hoffman, Beau Scott, Greg Bird. Interchange: Anthony Watmough, James Tamou, Trent Merrin, Luke Lewis.