BIT OF NIGGLE: Maroons captain Cameron Smith and Blues player Josh Jackson during State of Origin II at Suncorp Stadium.
BIT OF NIGGLE: Maroons captain Cameron Smith and Blues player Josh Jackson during State of Origin II at Suncorp Stadium. DAVE HUNT

Young Blues ready to step up

BLUES second-rower Josh Jackson believes Tyson Frizell and Wade Graham are ready to show Blues fans the future is bright at ANZ Stadium on Wednesday night.

With veteran Greg Bird no longer playing, Jackson and debutant Graham, both 25, and Frizell, 24, can cement their Origin futures with strong displays in the back row in the game-three dead rubber.

“There’s not the same experience that was there, but I think Wade and Tyson are quality players and they’ve got a fair bit of experience in first grade,” Jackson said.

“I don’t think they’ll be overawed by it.”

That’s not to say Jackson has dismissed the importance of having captain Paul Gallen, 34, and his deputy Robbie Farah, 32, around, despite many insisting more young players should have been brought in.

“We couldn’t get the series for Gal, but hopefully we can get game three for him and send him out a winner,” Jackson said.

“He (Farah) is another one of those guys who’s a leader and he gives you confidence playing alongside him because he’s got that experience and he plays good footy.

“The last two Origins he’s been great for us.”

Jackson said there had been an emphasis on the Blues’ forward pack stepping up collectively.

Jackson (63m) and fellow Blues forwards James Tamou (34m) and Andrew Fifita (48m) would have liked more metres against their names in their team’s 26-16 loss in game two in Brisbane.

“As a pack, it’s pretty important for us to dominate the middle of the field so the outside backs can do their work, create opportunities and score points for us,” Jackson said.


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