Matt Burton shafted as NRL fans question Connor Watson and Cameron McInnes calls for Origin

The Blues coach has come under fire for two huge calls ahead of Origin Game 2.

Blues supporters have called out Michael Maguire after he left fans bewildered after dropping in-form Bulldogs playmaker Matt Burton from the squad and leaving Cameron McInnes out of the team for the must-win Origin clash. Maguire once again made the big call to select Dylan Edwards as the new Blues No.1 with James Tedesco dropped for Game 2 having filled in for the Panthers fullback after he withdrew from the squad ahead of the series opener.

The Blues are facing another series loss, which would be Maguire's first as coach, after New South Wales were demolished in the opener after going down a man in the opening stages. And as a reaction, Maguire has dropped Nicho Hynes as halfback, replaced James Tedesco at fullback and brought in Rabbitohs captain Cameron Murray for McInnes.

Cameron McInne during training and Matt Bruton reacts.
Blues supporters have called out Michael Maguire after he opted to drop in-form Bulldogs playmaker Matt Burton (pictured right) and Game I standout Cameron McInnes (pictured left). (Getty Images)

While there has been plenty of debate over the big calls Maguire was expected to make, one of the biggest surprises was the inclusion of Connor Watson over Burton. Maguire's decision not to select a utility on the bench for the series opener backfired spectacularly when after seven minutes Jospeh Suaalii was sent off for a head-high tackle on Reece Walsh. While the result of the game may have not changed with the Blues playing the majority of the contest a man-down, this left Maguire scrambling to fill in holes in the Blues backline.

Many felt if Burton was on the bench he could have played centre. The Bulldogs five-eighth has been 18th man a number of times for the Blues in the last two years, but hasn't managed to get on the field.

Matt Burton dejected after a loss.
Matt Burton (pictured) has been dropped from the Blues squad. (Getty Images)

Burton has been pushing to play in the team at five-eighth or at least used as the utility player to cover a number of positions in the backline. However, after not featuring in Game 1, Maguire opted to drop Burton altogether and go for the energy of Roosters No.14 Watson.

The Roosters dynamo has returned in 2024 and given his team a major boost every time he has entered the field. Despite his energy fans have quickly questioned Maguire's tactics and selection process heading into Game 2 having opted to leave Burton out of the squad altogether.

Many feel this is a bizarre call considering his inclusion in the squad only a few weeks ago with the chance he might take part in the series. Burton could cover the halves, centres and even dummy half for the Blues if there was an injury. The decision to drop McInnes from the 17, who was a tackling machine in a losing side, for Game 2 also raised eyebrows with Murray instantly recalled to the starting line-up after only one game back from injury.

While fans were left confused over the Burton and McInnes selection drama, many also were thrilled with some of the changes after the defeat. Tedesco and Hynes have been dropped again, with Edwards and Mitchell Moses coming in at fullback and halfback respectively. It marks the second time in three weeks that Tedesco has been dumped after he was initially overlooked for Game 1, only to win a reprieve when Edwards suffered a quad injury at training.


Hynes will see himself as unfortunate for being dropped for a second time in Origin after two games. His first game, under former coach Brad Fittler, saw Hynes come on out of position at centre and face a nightmare scenario. He was dropped as the utility after Game 1.

This time, Maguire has opted to drop Hynes from the No.7 jersey to hand Moses the halfback reins. Unfortunately, Hynes' only starting role came when he tried to guide his team around the park with only 12 men on the field against a fired-up Maroons outfit.

  1. Dylan Edwards

  2. Brian To'o

  3. Stephen Crichton

  4. Latrell Mitchell

  5. Zac Lomax

  6. Jarome Luai

  7. Mitch Moses

  8. Jake Trbojevic (capt)

  9. Reece Robson

  10. Payne Haas

  11. Liam Martin

  12. Angus Crichton

  13. Cameron Murray

  14. Connor Watson

  15. Isaah Yeo

  16. Haumole Olakau'atu

  17. Spencer Leniu

Reserves: Mitchell Barnett, Cameron McInnes, Luke Keary