Cleary in for New South Wales, Maloney misses out

Nathan Cleary has retained his place in the New South Wales team for the 2019 State of Origin opener, but Penrith Panthers team-mate James Maloney was not included in a 17-man squad.

Brad Fittler named his side on Sunday following the latest round of NRL action and saw enough from Cleary for him to be selected again.

But the Panthers half-back will line up alongside Cody Walker, rather than club colleague Maloney.

Luke Keary was ruled out following a second concussion in a matter of weeks, but Fittler turned to South Sydney Rabbitohs’ Walker for an Origin debut following a fine run of form.

"We've been speaking about Cody for a long time; you'd be blind if you didn’t see the sort of form he's in and what he can do at the moment," Fittler said, according to the NRL's official website.

"We've got a couple of days to work out how we're going to play, so that's a really fun part of the camp."

Walker is not the only player set to make his bow, however, with four other debutants also included.

Payne Haas, Cameron Murray, Jack Wighton and Nick Cotric are all also in line to feature for the Blues for the first time.

Tyson Frizell has been named in the line-up despite suffering a head injury for St George Illawarra Dragons just hours before the team announcement. He will have to go through concussion protocol before being cleared to play.

New South Wales face Queensland in the opening game of the three-match series in Brisbane on June 5.

NSW Blues team in full:

James Tedesco, Nick Cotric, Latrell Mitchell, Josh Morris, Josh Addo-Carr, Cody Walker, Nathan Cleary, David Klemmer, Damien Cook, Paul Vaughan, Boyd Cordner, Tyson Frizell, Jake Trbojevic.

Interchange: Jack Wighton, Payne Haas, Cameron Murray, Angus Crichton.

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