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Jasper Bruce

Blues' Fittler denies swinging the axe for Origin III

Brad Fittler has denied wielding the axe for State of Origin III despite making a raft of changes. (Darren England/AAP PHOTOS) (AAP)

Brad Fittler denies he has made mass changes to the NSW side that lost State of Origin II, but concedes the team's execution woes gave him little choice but to rethink his tactics.

In total, seven members of the side that fell 32-6 in game two have been cut for the series finale on July 12, when the Blues will fight to avoid the first Origin series whitewash since 2010.

Not since the 2019 series has Fittler made so many alterations to his side in response to a defeat.

Injuries forced walk-up starters Tom Trbojevic and Payne Haas to withdraw, while five-eighth Jarome Luai headlines the players dropped on form.

Veteran forwards Junior Paulo and Tyson Frizell join him on the axed list, as do recent debutants Stefano Utoikamanu and Hudson Young.

Fittler will blood two fresh faces - Keaon Koloamatangi and Bradman Best - taking the total number of players handed a debut this year to seven, as many as in any series since the coach's first in 2018.

Cody Walker, Reagan Campbell-Gillard, Jake Trbojevic, Jacob Saifiti and Clint Gutherson have all been recalled, with the first three sidelined with injuries earlier in the series.

The amendments came after Fittler said on Sunday there would not be mass changes to the defeated Origin II side.

"At the end of the day, the scorelines got away from us up there (in Origin II) but I don't think we're too far away," he told the Nine Network.

With the side entering camp for the first time on Tuesday, Fittler again denied he had swung the axe.

"I don't think there were too many changes," he said.

"At the end of the day, apart from injury, there's four (sic, five) changes.

"Junior and Tyson have had pretty long careers in Origin so we chose some other players over them.

"There's some experienced players, we've picked some young players."

Luai's axing was the biggest surprise as the Panthers five-eighth had been among the Blues' best in the tight game-one loss and, at 26, is a more sustainable option for the future than 33-year-old Walker.

But Fittler's focus is only on Origin III and the chance for Walker, who has the most try assists of any half this season, to spark the Blues.

NSW have scored only four tries across the first two games, fewer than in the first two games of any series since 2016.

"The five-eighth obviously was a big call," Fittler said.

"(But) the execution hasn't been that fantastic. If you look at the way Cody's been playing, he'd been thought about the whole time.

"He was injured the last game. His execution has been as good as anyone in the game. We need to score some more tries.

"We've picked with a view to win the game, there's no thought of anything else other than winning the game."

Fittler has publicly acknowledged the pressure on his job that has come with losing a third series from his last four in charge, but will take a glass-half-full approach into Origin III.

"It's always full, it's not half," he said.

"I love it (coaching), it's fantastic.

"I could be laying bricks. I've seen that at my house recently. It looks like hard work."

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