Mark Geyer calls for Jake Trbojevic's axing amid huge call on Latrell Mitchell for Origin II

Geyer has called on the NSW coach to get ruthless ahead of a must-win Origin match.

Mark Geyer is calling on NSW coach Michael Maguire to get ruthless for Game II of the State of Origin series, after insisting new Blues captain Jake Trbojevic should be axed from the side as part of a major shake-up. Geyer has also joined the chorus of voices calling for Latrell Mitchell to come into the NSW side as the Blues look to keep the series alive in a must-win clash at the MCG on June 26.

The former Blues enforcer says despite his beloved state playing the majority of Game I with a man down after Joseph Suallii's eighth minute send off, he'd still ring the changes for Game II. Geyer also suggested Nicho Hynes - who's been under pressure to keep his spot - should make his way for Matt Burton to come in at No.6 and partner Jarome Luai in the halves. The Panthers playmaker has already proven he can handle the No.7 role in the absence of Nathan Cleary at the Panthers.

Pictured left to right, Mark Geyer, NSW State of Origin captain Jake Trbojevic and Latrell Mitchell.
Mark Geyer says Blues captain Jake Trbojevic should be dropped and Latrell Mitchell should come into the NSW side as part of a major State of Origin shake-up for Game II. Pic: Getty

Geyer also believes Dylan Edwards will come straight back into the NSW side after being replaced by James Tedesco for Game I when he was ruled out with a calf injury. Edwards makes his return for the Panthers in Sunday's match against Newcastle. Geyer also believes Blues Origin stalwart Cameron Murray should also be picked, despite being named on the interchange for Friday night's game against Brisbane after being sidelined for four weeks with a hip pointer injury.

But it's Geyer's call to drop Trbojevic - who only played around 25 minutes in Game I and was seemingly sacrificed in favour of more attacking options for the 12-man Blues - that is perhaps the most eye-opening part of his team shake-up. “Let me qualify this by saying that, no matter who is picked for game two I am unconditionally behind and will support the team,” Geyer said on Triple M’s Breakfast with Mick and MG.

“But I’m going to make some changes. Dylan Edwards is in, Latrell Mitchell is in, Matt Burton is my five-eighth, Mitch Barnett is in for Jake Trbojevic, Api Koroisau is on the bench, Cam Murray comes in after being out for a bit of a lay-off. The team looks completely different to game one.

“I think we’ve got to have a look at our team from game one and I think someone like Jake Trbojevic who was captain, when you only play him for 25 minutes, I don’t think we can carry a defender. Like Cam McInnes as well, I don’t think we can carry defenders.


“We need someone like a Mitch Barnett up front, we need Isaah Yeo to play 80 minutes, we need some more variety around the ruck and I think Matt Burton at number six and Jarome Luai at number seven would be a perfect combination. Especially with that big spiral kick that he’s (Burton) shown in the last couple of weeks.

“Cam Murray goes straight into the 17 because I think he’s that type of (Origin) player. Nicho hasn’t made my team, Jarome Luai will be number seven and Dylan Edwards, who was picked in game one, he takes the spot of James Tedesco. I just think we’ve got to go with more brutality.

“We lost a player in the seventh minute which changed the whole fabric of the game, I know that. But watching it, I still saw a lot of things that even with 12 men, you can still defend a lot better and attack a lot better than we did. Madge (Michael) Maguire has a hard job. It’s his first year in and I wouldn’t be surprised if he hardly makes any changes to be honest. But my opinion is, this is the team that can beat Queensland in Melbourne.”

Mitch Barnett and Cam Murray are both in contention to be selected for the Blues in State of Origin Game II. Pic: Getty
Mitch Barnett and Cam Murray are both in contention to be selected for the Blues in State of Origin Game II. Pic: Getty

Geyer's call for the Blues to pick Souths superstar Mitchell for Game II has been echoed around the league world, with NSW legend Andrew Johns among his loudest supporters. Maguire reportedly left the Rabbitohs fullback out of his squad for Game I due to reservations about how committed he was to Origin but Mitchell dispelled any such notion by claiming he "bleeds Blue" and would be honoured to represent his state if picked.

And Rabbitohs teammate Thomas Burgess backed the in-form Mitchell to earn a recall, explaining that he is the exact sort of player the Queenslanders would hate to come up against. “He’s one of those athletes that’s big and fast and strong, but he can also throw a 30m ball and he’s getting his kicking game there as well," Burgess said. "He thinks he’s Dusty Martin. It’s another string to the bow for him and we’re better with him in the side.

“I don’t think he’s too worried about that (proving a point) right now. He’s focused on the red and green. He’s passionate about the Blues and wants them to do well. If he’s needed there then I’m sure he’d be in the conversation.”