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Prior to make Origin debut in Sydney

19 June 2018 10:53

Matt Prior will make his State of Origin debut on Sunday after being named as Reagan Campbell-Gillard's replacement in the New South Wales starting line-up.

The Cronulla Sharks forward becomes the fourth-oldest player to debut for the Blues, with coach Brad Fittler hoping Prior's experience can help his side seal the series a game early.

Prior steps into Campbell-Gillard's role after he suffered a jaw injury during Penrith Panthers' defeat to the Sydney Roosters on Friday.

Fittler opted for Prior over Ryan James, and the coach is confident the 31-year-old will handle the pressure of Origin.

"I've been a fan of both of those players for a long time and it was just one of those decisions and you had to make one and get it away earlier rather than later," Fittler said.

"I watched training and listened to some opinions and took some advice but at the end of the day it comes down to the fact that Matt plays a lot like Reagan Campbell-Gillard and that tipped us that way because you don't have to change that much. It's really exciting for a 31-year-old bloke to make his Origin debut.

"He's a good fella and I've liked the way he has carried himself for a long time. He's played in a couple of grand finals and he's played in big games, so he's not going to be overwhelmed."

The Blues won the opening game of the three-match series 22-12 on June 6 in Melbourne.

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