St George Illawarra Dragons and Cronulla Sharks provide seven players to State of Origin II

Top gun: Sharks five-eighth James Maloney will look to help NSW secure a series victory in State of Origin II next Wednesday night. Picture: Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images
Top gun: Sharks five-eighth James Maloney will look to help NSW secure a series victory in State of Origin II next Wednesday night. Picture: Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images

Cronulla and St George Illawarra will provide seven players to State of Origin II at ANZ Stadium next Wednesday night as New South Wales look to secure just their second series win in the last 12 years.

Young Sharks star Valentine Holmes has been called into the Queensland team as part of a host of changes made by coach Kevin Walters after their drubbing in game one.

Holmes, already an Australian Test player and premiership winner with Cronulla, will be joined by returning veterans Billy Slater and Johnathan Thurston with fellow veterans Sam Thaiday, Nate Myles and Jacob Lillyman all gone along with outside backs Justin O’Neill and Corey Oates.

NSW coach Laurie Daley has stuck with the squad that won 28-4 in game one. That side includes Cronulla’s James Maloney at five-eighth and Andrew Fifita at prop, with Wade Graham and Jack Bird named to come off the bench.

St George Illawarra’s Tyson Frizell will start in the back-row, with future Sharks player Josh Dugan to start in the centres.

The Dragons will be without Frizell and Dugan when they take on Parramatta at ANZ Stadium on Sunday, looking to bounce back from their disappointing 16-2 loss to Canterbury on Monday.

Cronulla will be without their Origin quintet for the Wests Tigers’ visit to Southern Cross Group Stadium on Saturday night, though the struggling Tigers will also be without stars Aaron Woods and James Tedesco.

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