Phil Gould in surprise call on Blues halfback in Origin fiasco

The NRL guru has weighed-in on Brad Fittler's pivotal position for Game II.

Phil Gould during broadcast and Brad Fittler smiles.
NRL guru Phil Gould (pictured left) has claimed Blues coach Brad Fittler (pictured right) should pick Mitchell Moses for Game II. (Getty Images)

NRL guru Phil Gould has made the left-of-field call for Brad Fittler to select Mitchell Moses as the Blues halfback for Game II of State of Origin. Fittler has been left with a career-defining decision on who will replace Nathan Cleary as the New South Wales halfback after the Penrith ace tore his hamstring on the weekend.

Origin greats have come out in force and discussed who they would pick for the Blues' must-win clash and a number of names have been thrown around. Maroons great Cooper Cronk said he would opt for Broncos halfback Adam Reynolds. Gorden Tallis agreed.

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Many fans are calling for reigning Dally M winner Nicho Hynes to slot straight into the position. Hynes was used off the bench in Game I, but had little impact as he was played out of position.

Fittler came under fire for using the Sharks halfback as a utility and it could see him move straight into the halves. Another name being thrown around is Eels halfback Moses.

The No.7 played for the Blues in 2021 when Cleary was ruled out through injury. He played well in a losing dead rubber game.

The Eels star has maintained his solid form at club level and Gould believes he adds creativity to a strong Blues forward pack. Gould also disagrees with the doubters and said Hynes is suited to the utility role off the bench in Game II.

“I think Nicho Hynes is perfectly suited to the role they gave him for Game 1, which is off the bench. He didn’t get to play the position he would have liked, going on in the centres, but he would have been better off for (the run)," Gould said on Channel Nine's 100% Footy. “But Nicho is picked for his versatility but I still think we need to get a specialist, experienced halfback into that role.

“My personal choice would be Mitchell Moses, that’s just my personal choice. People are going to be divided on all aspects of the this, I think you just need to consider where we’re going and what the atmosphere and the football is going to be like.”

Gould said he would also stick with incumbent Jarome Luai as the five-eighth, despite calls for Cody Walker to come into the side. Gould labelled Luai as the Blues' "most dangerous player on the field" in the Game I losing side and called for Fittler to stick with the Penrith half.

Mitchell Moses runs the ball.
Mitchell Moses (pictured) is an option for the Blues at halfback. (Photo by Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images)

Cooper Cronk calls for Adam Reynolds in Origin debate

Maroons great Cronk had a slightly different opinion. While he agrees with Gould that an experienced halfback is needed, it was the premiership winner and current Broncos halfback Reynolds that earned his praise.

“Before you even think about football, you’ve got to think who can handle the situation. I think temperament becomes a big player here, game two, Suncorp Stadium, a must win to keep the series alive. That’s not just going up there and playing football, that’s can you handle this moment," he said on NRL 360.

“I think the two best at that are Nicho Hynes and Adam Reynolds - their temperament, their ability not to get rattled by anything. Nicho has got the stoic nature in the way that he plays and then you’ve got Reynolds who has basically been dominating Suncorp Stadium for the last 18 months with the Brisbane Broncos, his kicking game is elite and it’s almost the most important thing in going up to Suncorp for a big game."

Nathan Cleary and Brad Fittler look dejected.
Nathan Cleary (pictured left) won't be available for selection in Game II. (Photo by Chris Hyde/Getty Images)

“If I had to choose, I think I’m keeping Nicho on the bench and starting Reynolds and I’m bringing Nicho onto the field early in the first half. If you need structure, Reynolds keeps going, if you need some vibrant play to score points then Nicho comes in.”

Fittler could be swayed to pick Reynolds and Walker if he opts to bring Damien Cook and Latrell Mitchell back into the team.

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