A day for debutants
We’ve got four first-gamers going around tonight – two for each side – so let’s have a look at them:
Mitchell Moses (NSW): The Parramatta halfback is a very good club player, but his seemingly immediate elevation to the Blues number seven was a little bit odd. He won the jersey ahead of Souths star and 2016 Blues half Adam Reynolds. He’s got the knock on him of not being a big-game player. Perhaps making his debut in a “dead rubber” will take some pressure off him, but he still needs to show he’s up to this level.
Apisai Koroisau (NSW): The Penrith hooker is missing two of his favourite club offsiders, with Nathan Cleary and Jarome Luai out injured, but he should still be able to have some impact off the bench. His inclusion also gives NSW a genuine second hooking option, which they haven’t had for a while. That will give Damien Cook some rest, which could also be bad news for the Maroons.
Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow (Qld): The Maroons didn’t have a bucketload of options at centre, hence Kurt Capewell getting the start in the first two games. The 19-year-old Tabuai-Fidow is definitely a flawed player and Tom Trbojevic will be licking his lips at the sight of the young Cowboy, but he also gives Queensland something they’ve been sorely lacking out of the centres, and that’s pure speed and athleticism.
Tom Flegler (Qld): With David Fifita injured and Jai Arrow suspended, Queensland selectors had to go a few rows deep to find their final forward on the bench and came up the 21-year-old Bronco. He’s not a regular starter in Brisbane, but he’s part of a good middle rotation with Christian Welch, Josh Papalii, Moeaki Fotuaika and Tino Fa’asuamaleaui, so whatever the result and whatever his playing time, tonight should be good experience for him.