Blues select Tariq Sims for State of Origin debut

NSW coach Brad Fittler has declared Tariq Sims the best left back-rower in the NRL after naming him in his State of Origin III team at the expense of unlucky prop Matt Prior.

Sims was the only change from the line-up that sealed the series win in Sydney eight days ago, with Paul Vaughan elevated to the run-on side for the dead rubber clash in Brisbane.

Fittler also said Sims would provide cover for captain Boyd Cordner, who is battling a calf injury sustained from their game two triumph at ANZ Stadium.

However, Cordner is adamant he'll be good to go at Suncorp Stadium.

"It's just a minor injury so I'm not that concerned that I won't be playing. We don't train our main session until Thursday. It's feeling really good now," Cordner said on Monday.

"I'll go out for a run later today and I'm really confident I'll be right."

Ryan James has been named 18th man, while Prior and Luke Keary are part of an extended squad.

Sims has been a reserve for the Blues both last year and for the opening two matches this year, and has been in impressive form for ladder leaders St George Illawarra this season.

"He's been the best left back-rower this year in the competition, so it was something I really wanted to do, give him a run," Fittler said.

"He's an intense bloke so he'll do a good job."

Prior's axing is likely to mean more minutes in the middle for Jake Trbojevic and Tyson Frizell, while Fittler suggested Sims could also be utilised as a front-rower.

But he said the Dragons enforcer's selection was mainly in case Cordner went down.

"It was all around Boyd, really," Fittler said.

"The other reason was Tariq's been fantastic. He's been the best left back-rower this year and his efforts as 18th man have been incredible.

"He deserved his spot.

"He's played front row, played on both edges, I remember he started as right backrower and played in the middle.

"It definitely falls in his favour."

Fittler was captain when NSW completed their most recent Origin whitewash in 2000.

"I did it twice as a player - '96 and 2000 - and yeah it takes a special group," he said.

"Those two teams I remember distinctly (as) not only being great footy teams, but everyone getting on really well.

"This team has showed some of those characteristics but we can definitely be better."

Blues players participated in a coaching clinic at ANZ Stadium before undergoing further recovery in Coogee later on Monday.

NSW team for State of Origin III: James Tedesco, Tom Trbojevic, Latrell Mitchell, James Roberts, Josh Ado-Carr, James Maloney, Nathan Cleary, David Klemmer, Damien Cook, Paul Vaughan, Boyd Cordner (c), Tyson Frizell, Jack de Belin. Interchange: Tariq Sims, Jake Trbojevic, Angus Crichton, Tyrone Peachey.