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Thurston Origin warning for Blues halves

May 27, 2014 12:24:58 UK

Johnathan Thurston doesn’t think success in the NRL with the Bulldogs will necessarily prepare NSW’s new halves combination Josh Reynolds and Trent Hodkinson for Wednesday’s State of Origin Game I.

The pair have been in outstanding form for Canterbury this season, helping them to top spot on the NRL ladder with eight wins from 11 games.

It was their form for their club that persuaded Blues coach Laurie Daley to pick them together for the start of the series at Suncorp Stadium.

Hodkinson will make his NSW debut in Brisbane at halfback, while Reynolds starts at five-eighth as the Blues seek to draw first blood and go on to snap their eight-year losing run.

Mitchell Pearce of the Roosters had played in every game as halfback since the second match of the 2010 series and held the record for consecutive games in the position. But he has been axed along with James Maloney as Daley looks to make use of the understanding Reynolds and Hodkinson have built up with the Bulldogs.

Thurston acknowledged their club form, but says it doesn’t prevent Origin football being a massive step up for the pair.

The Queensland five-eight, who will play his 28th consecutive Origin game, said: “It’s going to be tough for them, no doubt about that.

“They are playing some really good football at the Dogs, but in saying that, State of Origin is a whole new ball game.”

Thurston added: “We need to pressure them. They are confident in their ability so they probably won’t be nervous, they will be looking forward to the challenge. But Origin … it’s a different level and they will come to see on Wednesday night what it’s like.”

Queensland areĀ 1.44 to beat NSW in Game I, with the Blues 2.80.

NSW areĀ 1.93 with a 6.5-points start.

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