Cordner rules himself out of Origin series

Pamela Whaley
·2-min read

James Tedesco will captain NSW for the first time after Boyd Cordner ruled himself out of the remainder of the State of Origin series.

The Blues fullback was named vice-captain to Cordner in 2019 but has been handed the job for the final two games of the series as the team for Origin II was announced on Friday.

Cordner, 28, made the call after copping a head knock in the series opener in Adelaide and announced he was leaving camp shortly before the team was confirmed.

In a statement released with the NSWRL, Cordner said his withdrawal is precautionary and he feels well despite growing concerns about his history with concussion.

"As hard as it was, it is the right call based on the fact that I have had a few knocks this year," Cordner said.

"I feel really good after Wednesday's game; I've pulled up fine. I have no concerns about the knock in Game One. I passed the HIA test and was happy to return to the field.

"The decision is more precautionary than anything. It has been a big year and now I can just rest up and relax with a good break coming up."

The skipper has suffered a series of troubling concussions this season and underwent a HIA for a head knock in the loss to Queensland at Adelaide Oval.

The decision to allow him to return to the field after passing HIA protocols is under investigation by the NRL.

Tedesco's appointment as skipper comes amid a raft of changes to the side for Wednesday night's Game II at ANZ Stadium.

Cody Walker has been recalled to the starting side to partner Nathan Cleary in the halves with Luke Keary dropped to the extended bench.

Keary was criticised by NSW great Andrew Johns following the Origin I loss to Queensland in Adelaide, who led calls to see him dropped and replaced by Walker.

Walker was the form player of the competition over the last month of the NRL season and provided spark from the bench in the series opener.

Isaah Yeo and Nathan Brown have both been named on the bench to make their Origin debuts, while Angus Crichton will replace Cordner in the second row.

Prop Junior Paulo has also been dropped to the bench with Payne Haas named to start.

Dale Finucane will replace Cameron Murray on the bench after the South Sydney star was ruled out of the rest of the series with a hamstring injury.

NSW: 1 James Tedesco (c), 2 Daniel Tupou, 3 Clint Gutherson, 4 Jack Wighton, 5 Josh Addo-Carr, 6 Cody Walker, 7 Nathan Cleary, 8 Daniel Saifiti, 9 Damien Cook, 10 Payne Haas, 11 Angus Crichton, 12 Tyson Frizell, 13 Jake Trbojevic, 14 Dale Finucane, 15 Junior Paulo, 16 Nathan Brown, 17 Isaah Yeo, 18 Luke Keary, 19 Reagan Campbell-Gillard, 20 Cameron McInnes, 21 Stephen Crichton.