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Jasper Bruce

Gutherson working hard to shine as Blues' Mr Fix-It

Clint Gutherson is ready to roll up his sleeves and go to work to prevent an Origin whitewash. (Bianca De Marchi/AAP PHOTOS) (AAP)

Brad Fittler believes Clint Gutherson is the NRL's form player, but the Parramatta captain says it's his penchant for hard work and not razzle-dazzle that will suit him in his bench-utility role in State of Origin III.

NSW's bench dilemmas have been well-documented this Origin series.

Fittler selected reigning Dally M Medallist Nicho Hynes on the bench for the series opener only to inject him out of position at centre in the final 12 minutes and expose him to a defensive raid that turned the game for Queensland.

The coach decided not to carry a back on the bench for Origin II so needed to play bench hooker Damien Cook at centre for 77 minutes when Tom Trbojevic went down with a game-ending pectoral injury. Cook was a defensive target all night long.

So Fittler has reverted to selecting a back - Gutherson - on his bench as the Blues fight to avoid a series whitewash at Sydney's Accor Stadium on July 12.

"Just having him here makes me feel good," Fittler said earlier this week.

"He's been the best player in the comp the last month."

The clash will be Gutherson's first since 2020, when he played at centre in all three games of the post-season series.

"There's been a lot of changes in three years, different team, different people," Gutherson told AAP.

"(Being picked for Origin III) never crossed my mind, with the calibre of players.

"I'm super grateful to be in camp."

The 28-year-old is a fullback at club level but began his career with Manly in the outside backs and can easily fill in as a half.

Gutherson will even put his hand up for minutes in the middle of the park if required, revealing no fears about stepping into the utility role that chewed Hynes up and spat him out.

"My game's just built on effort so it doesn't matter where I play: In the middle, out the back, wherever it's going to be," he said.

"I like to go out there and do the same thing. I think it's no different in Origin.

"I know what I bring to a team and Freddy and the staff thought that it'd be useful in game three. I can't wait to get out there."

Gutherson's return to the Origin side coincides with that of Eels teammate Reagan Campbell-Gillard, whose groin injury ruined his chances of selection in the first two games.

Campbell-Gillard and Jake Trbojevic are tasked with setting the tone in the middle of the park with forward pack leader Payne Haas unavailable through an ankle injury.

Ironically, it was a hip-drop tackle from Haas that caused Campbell-Gillard's injury, which required him to leave Darwin's TIO Stadium in an ambulance during the game in late April.

"The next week or two he was flat out walking," Gutherson said.

"But he pushed his rehab back, he got back really quickly and he did everything to the book.

"He deserves his shot again this week. It's come on the back of hard work."

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