Sport Rugby League Hopoate earns NSW Origin call-up

Hopoate earns NSW Origin call-up

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Will Hopoate has earned a recall to the NSW rugby league team for the second State of Origin game, three seasons since making his interstate debut.

Hopoate was chosen on the wing in Blues coach Laurie Daley’s side on Tuesday for the return match at ANZ Stadium next Wednesday in place of the injured Brett Morris.  

St George Illawarra’s Josh Dugan has been picked at centre to take the place of Josh Morris who is also sidelined with injury.

With Gold Coast back-rower Greg Bird returning from suspension, NSW captain Paul Gallen moves to prop to accommodate the Blues enforcer.

That pushes James Tamou onto the bench with Tony Williams dumped from the Blues side which leads the series 1-0 and is searching to break Queensland’s eight-year stranglehold on Origin.

Hopoate returned to the NRL this season this season after two years away on a Mormon mission and has been a key figure in the Eels’ resurgence under new coach Brad Arthur.

Hopoate scored a try in NSW’s 8-6 Game II win in 2011 and missed Game III with a hamstring injury.

The Blues head to their Coffs Harbour base on Tuesday night ahead of next week’s sold out match.

Queensland named a 22-man squad on Monday, to deal with injury worries, with Greg Inglis (ankle) and Billy Slater (shoulder) the biggest concerns.