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Rothmans Medalist David Fairleigh says Storm enforcer would be a ‘great player’ for NSW Blues

Cowboys Assistant Coach and former New South Wales star forward David Fairleigh is urging Brad Fittler to pick-and-stick with the Blues, adding New South Wales has a history of turfing players who don’t have an immediate impact at State of Origin level.

Fairleigh, who won the 1994 Rothman’s Medal and made 10 State of Origin appearances for New South Wales as well as earning 15 Test Caps, says halves Nathan Cleary and Cody Walker will have learned valuable lessons from Game 1.

“I think the most talk is around the halves, but I would be very surprised if Freddy changed Nathan Cleary,” Fairleigh tells David Morrow and Mat Thompson on Macquarie Sports Radio. 

“I think New South Wales has a history of throwing somebody in there and if they don’t get the results, they get rid of them,

“Nathan steered New South Wales to victory last year and I’m not sure you could say it was his worst game or his best game in the first Origin but I certainly wouldn’t be changing him. Cody Walker has been in great form all year so I personally think they deserve another chance,”

With Blues enforcer David Klemmer sidelined for 6 weeks with a fractured wrist, some argue that Melbourne Storm tough-nut Dale Finucane is an obvious choice for his replacement, a selection which Fairleigh would fully support.

“He’s not underrated by his peers and fellow players, he’s definitely a player who doesn’t get all the limelight but I reckon Craig Bellamy will be sitting there very, very pleased that he’s in his football team,” he said.

“He’s one of those guys that can play 80 minutes, he’s minimal on his errors, and the difference between his very best game and his worst game is very small,

“He’d be a great player to have in the New South Wales Squad.”

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