Darren Lockyer's accidental slip-up sparks State of Origin mind games

NRL and Maroons legend Darren Lockyer (pictured right) speaking on the Wide World of Sports about State of Origin.
NRL and Maroons legend Darren Lockyer (pictured right) may have let slip a late change from coach Billy Slater before State of Origin Game 2 against the Blues. (Image: WWOS)

NRL legend Darren Lockyer has potentially hinted at a late Maroons change to the starting team for Game 2 of State of Origin in Perth when questioned during an interview.

The Maroons legend, and current Queensland selector, was speaking to Wally Lewis on the Wide World of Sports when he was asked about the No.9 position.

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Arguably the best current hooker in the game, Harry Grant, started on the bench in Game 1 behind Ben Hunt.

This tactic worked for the Maroons in the first game, allowing Grant to come on and dominate the ruck.

However, Lewis asked if there was a chance Grant could start the next game.

The question appeared to surprise Lockyer, before he revealed coach Billy Slater could make a late change.

"Well yeah, maybe there might be some late changes," Lockyer said during the program.

When he realised he may have said too much, Lockyer added: "Better hush my mouth".

Lockyer went on to explain that the Hunt-Grant combination worked well in Game 1.

“The concept is that Ben (Hunt) takes the sting out of the game and allows Harry to come on and do his thing - and he was very good in game one,” Lockyer said.

Blues make No.9 change for State of Origin Game 2

In response to the 16-10 loss at home, Fittler rung the changes for Game 2 as the Blues look to keep the series alive in Perth.

Damien Cook's demotion to the bench and Api Koroisau's recall to the side, perhaps the most eye-catching move from NSW.

It marks the first time Cook has not started in the No.9 in Fittler's NSW coaching tenure, which dates back to 2018.

Fittler said Koroisau's inclusion didn't mean the coaching staff had lost faith in the Rabbitohs' Cook, who will come off the bench following a lukewarm stretch of form.

"That'll be a tactical change, going in with two hookers," Fittler said.

Blues coach Brad Fittler (pictured) during training.
Blues coach Brad Fittler (pictured) has made a number of changes to the team ahead of Game 2 in Perth. (Photo by Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images) (Mark Metcalfe via Getty Images)

"Between (Cook) and (South Sydney teammate) Cam Murray, we've got a lot of confidence in them. They've been part of this group for a while now."

The move could be seen as a similar tactic Slater used with Grant and Hunt in Game 1, as the quick-running Cook comes on when the forwards begin to tire.

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

"When you get beaten, you need to reassess," he said.

"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."

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