Front-row bolter picked after 16 NRL games

A front-rower who has played just 16 NRL games has been called in to reinforce the NSW Blues squad after Daniel Saifiti was ruled out of Game Three with a rib cartilage injury.
Tigers young gun Stefano Utoikamanu was today brought into camp alongside recalled utility Clint Gutherson, who was dumped by the Blues at the start of the series after playing all three games at right centre last year.
With Dale Finucane promoted from 18th man to the starting 17 to replace Saifiti and Api Koroisau getting his first taste of Origin as the bench utility, Gutherson has been called into the squad to provide backline cover.
NSW’s makeshift centre Clint Gutherson during his State of Origin debut. (Getty)
However, the call-up for Stefano Utoikamanu is a surprise given his relative inexperience at NRL level and doubles as a huge vote of confidence in a young player who has shone for a Wests Tigers side in crisis.
The Blues announced the two additions to the squad, which now numbers 21 players, in a statement this afternoon.
“NSW Blues coach Brad Fittler was forced to make changes today after Newcastle Knights prop Daniel Saifiti was ruled out with a rib cartilage injury,” the statement said.
“Melbourne Storm’s Dale Finucane was named as his replacement in the 17-man line-up, while Gutherson and Utoikamanu join the Storm’s Nicho Hynes on an extended bench.”
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