State of Origin Game 3 news

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NSW may have missed a trick by not handing goal-kicking duties to Mitchell Moses for his State of Origin debut, legendary Blues coach Phil Gould says.

In the absence of Nathan Cleary, the issue isn’t Brad Fittler’s preferred replacement option: Latrell Mitchell, himself a fine kicker.

Yet Gould said that Eels halfback Moses may have benefited from goal-kicking as he usually does, potentially getting himself into the game mentally by slotting an early attempt and contributing to the scoreline.

Mitchell doesn’t kick for the Rabbitohs, due to Adam Reynolds’ prowess, and has been in exceptional form this series for NSW, minus the kicking duties. Nonetheless, he will kick for the Blues in Origin III on Wednesday night at Cbus Super Stadium, leaving Moses to focus on his general play at No.7.

“I tend to think goal-kickers like to goal-kick. I think it’s a part of their confidence and a part of their game,” Gould told Wide World of Sports on his Six Tackles with Gus podcast, speaking with James Bracey.

“If early on, Mitchell Moses on debut and we score a try and he’s able to slot one between the posts, he rises, he feels like he’s into the game and he’s a part of the game.

“If you’re a goal-kicker and we score a try and you walk back over halfway watching the other bloke take a kick, there’s an empty feeling there, I don’t care who you are.

“But Latrell’s a great goal-kicker, he really is, and I’m sure he’ll do the job very, very well. They can’t both do it, that’s for sure.

“But I would have thought on debut, it might help Mitchell Moses to feel a real part of the team and part of the game. But that’s just me playing mind games, I tend to do that.”

Gould said that Fittler would likely have made the call as soon as NSW camp commenced, to avoid any uncertainty.

“Latrell’s a great goal-kicker, he won’t let NSW down. I just hope he gets plenty of kicks,” Gould said.

Gould said that if he were coach, he’d have liked to have seen the goal-kicking knock-back fire up Moses.

“If I don’t see it (a hurt reaction), I’m really disappointed. I want to see it,” he said.

Moses may get a chance to shine if Queensland makes far more of a contest from Origin III, after copping a 76-6 scoreline across the first two games. Gould said that the new halfback should be the first man in line for field goal duty; though Mitchell offered the option for a long-range shot.

“Latrell Mitchell, we saw him kick a field goal down in Melbourne one night, he kicked it from the other side of town; it was a drop kick that went 50, 60 metres on the fly,” he said.

“So I think if they’re ever looking for a two-point field goal or they’re a long way out, Latrell Mitchell is obviously an option, but he’s out in the centres. He’s got to get himself in position for it and it sells it pretty well.

“If I’m Mitchell Moses, I’m saying, ‘Hey, I’ll do that. You just get me to that point on the field, I’ll kick it, don’t worry about that’. We don’t want them to second-guess, that rubbish.”

Moses will partner five-eighth Jack Wighton in his Origin debut. Wighton played as a bench utility in the opening two games and has replaced the injured Jarome Luai at No.6.

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