NSW Blues swing the axe as Boyd Cordner rules himself out for series

New South Wales Blues captain Boyd Cordner has ruled himself out for the remainder of the 2020 State of Origin series. He becomes one of a host of changes for the Blues ahead of Game 2.

As first revealed by The Daily Telegraph, Sydney Roosters chairman Nick Politis confirmed Cordner would be released from the Blues camp on Friday.

The 28-year-old has opted to miss the final two Origin matches following a concussion scare during Wednesday’s evening series opener in Adelaide.

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“As hard as it was, it is the right call based on the fact that I have had a few knocks this year,” Cordner said in a statement.

“I feel really good after Wednesday’s game; I’ve pulled up fine. I have no concerns about the knock in Game One. I passed the HIA test and was happy to return to the field.

“The decision is more precautionary than anything. It has been a big year and now I can just rest up and relax with a good break coming up. I will be leaving camp today.”

The Blues and Maroons released their teams for Game 2 on Friday with Blues coach Brad Fittler swinging the axe after his side’s second half capitulation in Game 1.

Calls for Luke Keary to be dropped by several Blues legends were backed up by Fittler with Keary being dropped to the reserves.

Cody Walker will replace Keary after being named at five-eighth with Angus Crichton replacing Corder in the second row.

“James Tedesco has taken over as captain after Boyd Cordner made the decision to leave camp following a knock in Game One in Adelaide,” the Blues said in a statement.

A total of six changes have been made by the Blues ahead of Game 2.

The NSW Blues for #Origin II 🔥 See you at home, Sydney 💙

📝 https://t.co/n9fOwXYeV2 pic.twitter.com/icn34HLlF0

Valentine Holmes returns to the Maroons line-up at fullback with three players being dumped from the Queensland side.

Holmes, Dunamis Lui and Moeaki were all added with Coen Hess, Christian Welch and AJ Brimson missing out.

NSW BLUES SQUAD — GAME II

1. James Tedesco (c)

2. Daniel Tupou

3. Clint Gutherson

4. Jack Wighton

5. Josh Addo-Carr

6. Cody Walker

7. Nathan Cleary

8. Daniel Saifiti

9. Damien Cook

10. Payne Haas

11. Angus Crichton

12. Tyson Frizell

13. Jake Trbojevic

14. Dale Finucane

15. Junior Paulo

16. Nathan Brown

17. Isaah Yeo

QUEENSLAND MAROONS SQUAD — GAME II

1. Valentine Holmes

2. Xavier Coates

3. Kurt Capewell

4. Dane Gagai

5. Phillip Sami

6. Cameron Munster

7. Daly Cherry-Evans

8. Dunamis Lui

9. Jake Friend

10. Josh Papalii

11. Felise Kaufusi

12. Jaydn Su’A

13. Tino Faasuamaleaui

14. Ben Hunt

15. Lindsay Collins

16. Jai Arrow

17. Moeaki Fotuaika

Holmes is back.Source:Getty Images

Cordner was assisted off the ground by trainers after copping a head knock while attempting a tackle on Felise Kaufusi in the first half. He was controversially allowed back onto the field 15 minutes later after passing a Head Injury Assessment (HIA) test.

It was latest in a long list of concussions scares the edge forward has suffered in 2020 — he missed six consecutive weeks of the regular season after a particularly nasty incident in round 10.

NSW Rugby League chief executive David Trodden said the organisation fully supported Cordner’s decision.

“The welfare of our players is always of the utmost importance in our minds,” Trodden said.

“Boyd’s decision after consulting with team doctor Nathan Gibbs and coach Brad Fittler, is the appropriate one and we fully support him and wish him a restful off-season.”

Sydney Morning Herald reporter Christian Nicolussi tweeted: “Shame about Boyd Cordner withdrawal. Right call. But HUGE loss for NSW. Was excellent when returned in Adelaide.”

You’d think the decision by Boyd Cordner to rule himself out #SOO because of concussion might cause the #NRL to institute an independent review their HIA policy #concussion which sent him back into the game pic.twitter.com/bHRK47COhO

ARLC chairman Peter V’landys called for an investigation into Cordner’s return to play, which proved a contentious discussion point after Queensland’s 18-14 victory.

“We will investigate it because we will never compromise on player welfare, it is paramount,” V’landys said, according to The Sydney Morning Herald.

“There is nothing that competes with it.”

But New South Wales team doctor Nathan Gibbs defended the call, clarifying there was no definitive concussion diagnosis.

“He passed his orientation questions immediately and passed his HIA with no problems so I couldn’t confirm a concussion diagnosis,” Gibbs told The Sydney Morning Herald.

“He went back on and played the rest of the game running and tackling strongly without any problems and felt good after the game doing his post-match press conference with no issues and, checking him today, he is good too. So, no definitive concussion diagnosis.

“But, certainly in the bigger picture, he is becoming prone to head knocks and HIA assessments more often so this is more of the concern for him.”

Sydney teammate Angus Crichton is expected will replace Cordner in the Blues forward pack for Game II at ANZ Stadium.

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