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RugbyL: Three newcomers in NSW team for Origin opener


Newcomers James Maloney, Blake Ferguson and Andrew Fifita were named in the New South Wales team on Sunday for next month's State of Origin opener against Queensland in Sydney.

New NSW coach Laurie Daley opted for Sydney Roosters standoff Maloney ahead of incumbent playmaker Todd Carney with Canberra winger Ferguson and Cronulla prop Andrew Fifita also selected for the first time.

The Blues will be trying to win the annual series for the first time since 2005.

Daley, who replaced Ricky Stuart as coach after last year's 21-20 loss to Queensland in the deciding third game in Brisbane, kept faith with 11 of the side who played in that game.

Fifita earned a place on the interchange bench after recent good form and Kurt Gidley is back on the bench having missed last year's series due to injury.

Melbourne Storm back-rower Ryan Hoffman was rewarded for his strong form with his first Origin call-up since 2008.

Skipper Paul Gallen was chosen to start in the front row alongside James Tamou even though Gallen hasn't played for three weeks with injury.

Fullback Jarryd Hayne is the most experienced player in the NSW team with 16 appearances.

The opening game of this year's series will take place on June 5.

NSW (1-17) - Jarryd Hayne; Brett Morris, Michael Jennings, Josh Morris, Blake Ferguson; James Maloney, Mitchell Pearce; Paul Gallen (capt), Robbie Farah, James Tamou; Ryan Hoffman, Luke Lewis; Greg Bird.

Interchange: Andrew Fifita, Kurt Gidley, Trent Merrin, Anthony Watmough