The NSW Blues have been named for the first game of the 2017 #Origin series.
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NSW selection chairman Bob McCarthy denies the Blues are taking a gamble by naming Mark Gasnier at five-eighth for Wednesday week's deciding third State-of-Origin rugby league match against Queensland.
Gasnier and Craig Gower will replace halves Braith Anasta and Brett Finch who have been dropped after a poor display in the second-game loss at Suncorp Stadium. The selectors opted for regular centre Gasnier at five-eighth despite his inexperience in that playmaking position.
But McCarthy says the more times Gasnier gets the ball, the more dangerous he will be for the decider at Melbourne's Telstra Dome. Matt Cooper has been called up to take over St George Illawarra teammate Gasnier's centre spot while Timana Tahu and Matt King had their positions switched with King going from wing to centre.
Utility Craig Wing joined fellow Sydney Roosters players Anasta and Finch in being dropped, with St George Illawarra's Ben Hornby taking over his bench spot. Luke O'Donnell returns after missing game two through injury. He replaces Andrew Ryan, while Cronulla's Paul Gallen was rewarded for recent good form with a bench position in place of Brent Kite.