• NSW should look to youth. (AAP)Source: AAP
Justin Hodges was once known for plotting the demise of New South Wales, but now he says a youth policy must be introduced to ensure future success.
Adam Santarossa

29 Jun 2016 - 11:17 AM  UPDATED 29 Jun 2016 - 11:17 AM

Queensland Origin legend Justin Hodges says New South Wales must make sweeping changes, with an eye to the future.

The Blues have already lost the 2016 series, with Game III just a fortnight away.

New South Wales will look to take some pride away with a win in the dead rubber, but Hodges told NITV’s League Nation Live they must look to youth and lay the foundation for future success.

“I think Birdy (Greg Bird) has to go, he’s had his time. Michael Jennings has to go and a few others as well.

“They’ve got to start blooding these young kids and look forward to the future. You can’t keep going backwards”.

Queensland met a similar precipice in the early 2000’s, with New South Wales dominating Origin.

The Maroons adopted a youth policy that has now seen them go on and win ten of the last eleven series, a blueprint Hodges suggests they follow.

“That’s what happened with Mal in 2006. He blooded so many young players, now look at them – they’re a team of champions.

“You’ve got to take that risk sooner or later”, Hodges said.

Whilst many are calling for the head of current Blues skipper Paul Gallen as part of the youth overhaul, Hodges believes the veteran deserves to be sent out on the right note.

“I reckon the only reason they’ll play Gal is because it’s last series.

“It’s his last game, let’s be honest, he’s been a great player and great role model for our game, he does deserve the right send off in this Origin arena,” said Hodges. 

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