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St George Illawarra Dragons centre Matt Cooper has been ruled out of the NSW Blues lineup for next Wednesday's State of Origin encounter. Parramatta Eels winger Eric Grothe has been confirmed as his replacement with Eels team mate Timana Tahu shifting to the centres.
Cooper had been training lightly with the Blues after suffering a hamstring strain in last weekend's Dragons vs Warriors clash. But he was unable to recover from a fitness test yesterday.
Meanwhile Dragons centre Mark Gasnier will play in Wednesday night's opening State of Origin match after passing a fitness test on his injured hip this afternoon. Gasnier was also recovering from a virus that prevented him from training on Tuesday.