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‘We have no safety net’: Blues coach Fittler defends seven changes for Origin II

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NSW coach Brad Fittler has defended his decision to make seven changes to his Blues squad after the narrow loss in the State of Origin series opener, insisting he couldn’t afford not to “reassess”.

Ryan Matterson, Kotoni Staggs, Reagan Campbell-Gillard and Tariq Sims have all been dropped from the 17 that lost 16-10 to Queensland, with Jack Wighton (COVID-19) the only forced change.

Jacob Saifiti and Tyson Frizell are also out of the extended squad for Origin II, to be played in Perth on June 26.

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But Fittler said the only option after a defeat was to change tactics, especially when the three-match series was on the line.

“We have no safety net at the moment.

“We went into the first game thinking a certain way about how the game would go and what we could do but it didn’t happen.”

Fittler has yet to name his 17 but confirmed Matt Burton and Stephen Crichton would form a new-look centre pairing.

The duo has only one game of Origin experience between them — Crichton came off the bench in a lukewarm showing in Sydney.

“What Crichton does with Penrith, he’s a great defender.”

Jake Trbojevic will return to the 17 for similar reasons.

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