Greatest Origin snubs from NSW Blues’ shock Sport 1 workforce

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New Blues coach Michael Maguire has swung the axe, making some huge calls as he named a 19-man squad for the State of Origin sequence opener at Accor Stadium.

In fact, none got here greater than the choice to drop incumbent captain James Tedesco.

He is among the apparent losers to emerge from Sunday’s announcement, however who else would

have been left upset after Maguire named his first-ever Origin squad.

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And which gamers or groups, then again, might be celebrating?

Right here, breaks down the winners and losers from NSW’s squad announcement.



Nicely, it’s protected to say the Panthers fullback can’t be described as underrated anymore.

If that wasn’t already the case after Edwards gained the Clive Churchill Medal following the 2022 Grand Closing, he’s now additionally judged by Maguire to be the most effective fullback in NSW.

It’s onerous to argue too given Edwards was degree with Sharks halfback Nicho Hynes on high of the Dally M leaderboard earlier than this week’s motion.

Say what you need in regards to the Dally M system being flawed however Edwards has completely been the principle purpose why Penrith has made a powerful begin to the 2024 season regardless of halfback Nathan Cleary being out and in of the line-up.

Edwards is averaging a career-high 202 run metres whereas he’s additionally on observe to surpass his best-ever marks in strive assists, linebreaks, linebreak assists and sort out busts if his mid-season numbers are something to go by.

It’s on the opposite facet of the ball although that Edwards actually has been constantly priceless for Penrith, with a excessive workrate and powerful communication expertise that helps arrange the Panthers’ line of defense.

Edwards’ help play is one other one among his strengths and he’ll know when to push up when Reece Robson spots a chance to dart out of dummy-half.


Whereas it seems just like the Roosters are main the cost to re-sign Crichton, the second rower has solely added to his potential asking worth after being chosen in Maguire’s squad.

Crichton final performed within the Origin enviornment in 2022 however has been recalled after beginning the 12 months in career-best kind, already scoring six tries in 10 video games having managed only one in 13 appearances final season.

The 28-year-old can be averaging 114 metres, marking his greatest output since 2021.

What makes Crichton’s choice notably spectacular is the actual fact it’s not as if he was a standout in a subject that didn’t have a lot competitors.

Liam Martin, Haumole Olakau’atu and Hudson Younger had been all additionally named within the squad on Sunday night time, with Keaon Koloamatangi and Tyson Frizell lacking out.

There are a number of high quality second rowers within the sport in the mean time and Crichton, given his present kind and flexibility, has seemingly been judged as one of many superior choices.


Certain, you possibly can put any of the debutants named within the NSW squad on this listing however McInnes specifically must be the largest winner of all of them given he’s taking part in his tenth NRL season.

McInnes’ choice is proof that gamers are able to continually evolving and enhancing their sport, even within the latter levels of their profession.

Though within the case of McInnes, the hallmarks of his sport — his excessive workrate and selfless angle — would have been notably interesting to Maguire.

McInnes isn’t simply the epitome of an Origin participant, he seems like one too with the stitches and battle scars which inform the story of a participant who places his physique on the road each night time.

You solely have to have a look at the Cronulla ahead’s tireless effort in a 28-0 loss to Penrith final 12 months the place he made a record-breaking 78 tackles — probably the most in an NRL sport ever.

“The hassle and scramble, so many tackles on our aim line… that’s Cam, he simply turns up every single day, he’s so constant,” Sharks coach Craig Fitzgibbon mentioned on the time, and that’s precisely what McInnes goes to supply, together with the flexibility of having the ability to play at hooker and spell Koroisau if wanted.


All Luai has heard from critics all through his profession is how he isn’t the identical participant with out halves companion Cleary.

That in an effort to evolve as a playmaker, he must show he might be his personal man.

It’s what appealed to Luai in regards to the alternative on the Tigers, the place he mentioned “getting the keys to the workforce” was “the opposite motivation” for him outdoors of cash.

“I feel anybody saying sick about me motivates me. I’ve all the time had the sting and that chip on my shoulder. … Being my very own man, writing my very own story, was one other huge half,” Luai mentioned on the time of saying his transfer to the Tigers.

Nicely, the Panthers playmaker may nicely have an early probability to do exactly that ought to Hynes be dominated out.

And if that does find yourself occurring, the actual fact Maguire is snug with Luai within the halfback jumper speaks volumes to simply how nicely the 27-year-old has been taking part in as of late.

Luai had the most effective video games of his profession on Saturday, ending the 42-0 win over the Sharks with a strive, strive help, two linebreak assists, 9 sort out busts and 103 metres.

What was much more spectacular than that although was the management and poise Luai performed with, forcing three dropouts and kicking for 633 metres.

Luai’s long-range kicking sport has all the time been a piece in progress given Penrith haven’t actually needed to name out him to place boot to ball with Cleary within the line-up.

However on Saturday night time Luai proved he can dictate phrases and switch groups round along with his boot, one thing that the Blues must name on if Hynes is sidelined.


An apparent one.

In a squad stacked with huge names and star gamers, Trbojevic was judged by Maguire and the Blues teaching employees as the fitting man to guide the workforce ahead with out Tedesco.

Certain, you may make an argument that Trbojevic lacks the explosiveness and game-breaking potential that a number of the greatest forwards within the sport have, traits which might be notably necessary given the tempo that Origin video games are performed at.

However the Blues have already got a participant of that mould in Payne Haas.

Trbojevic’s highlights gained’t bounce off the display screen however his effort areas and workrate in defence make him a pure chief and straightforward choice for Maguire.

Origin is all about setting requirements and Trbojevic, who’s averaging 38.8 tackles with simply 2.6 missed for Manly this season, is the proper of participant and captain to do exactly that.


It says lots about how extremely Maguire thinks of Leniu as a participant that he chosen him within the squad regardless of the actual fact the 23-year-old has solely performed 4 video games this 12 months.

These 4 video games although have given a small glimpse into what the premiership-winning entrance rower is able to, with Leniu averaging 83 metres in simply 38 minutes.

Leniu provides one thing completely different to the NSW ahead pack off the bench, boasting the sort of tackle-breaking potential and leg drive that makes him a pleasant complement alongside the likes of McInnes and Trbojevic by way of the center.

Craig Fitzgibbon gives Nicho Hynes update


One other fairly easy one because the North Queensland hooker beat out premiership winner Apisai Koroisau for the beginning hooker position in Maguire’s new-look facet.

Robson and Koroisau each have completely different strengths, with the Cowboy providing extra pace off the mark out of dummy-half whereas he additionally has a dimension benefit that makes him a greater defender within the center.

However Koroisau’s smaller stature has hardly held him again defensively all through his profession, whereas his deception and ball-playing is elite on the place.

Nonetheless, Robson ended up getting the call-up over Koroisau, which speaks volumes to how highly-rated he’s given his extra skilled rival’s standing within the league.

You then additionally issue within the reality former Panthers teammates Edwards and Luai had been named within the backbone, which usually would give Koroisau the sting given his familiarity with the 2.

For Robson to nonetheless the nod regardless of that could be a clear indication of simply how assured Maguire is in him doing the job for the complete 80 minutes.



You possibly can’t take something away from what Tedesco has achieved within the Origin enviornment however clearly Maguire determined it was time for a change, dropping the Roosters fullback after seven straight years because the first-choice fullback.

It’s onerous to say it’s an indictment on Tedesco as a participant although as he has been in positive kind to start out the 12 months. Edwards although has taken his sport to new heights in recent times.

Tedesco mentioned earlier within the week that he was conscious that his spot could also be in jeopardy, understanding that Maguire had been vocal about desirous to make modifications and, in consequence, put his stamp on the Blues within the post-Fittler period.

In that sense, as disappointing because the information could also be, it will have hardly come as a shock to Tedesco, who can as a substitute now put all his focus into serving to the Roosters contend for a top-four spot and the premiership so many consultants tipped them to win previously few years.


The Panthers have executed fairly nicely in earlier years to navigate the Origin interval, though that is actually going to be a problem.

Cleary was all the time going to be unavailable anyway however with Luai, Edwards, To’o, Liam Martin and Isaah Yeo additionally out of the image and Taylan Might stood down, Penrith will really want to depend on its depth to get by way of the subsequent few months.

The issue is that back-up half Brad Schneider is presently sidelined whereas Orange product Jack Cole, who lastly seemed assured and cozy as he scored his first NRL strive on Saturday night time, is battling a hamstring challenge.

Cole has needed to cope with a string of niggling accidents previously few years too, so it wouldn’t shock if Penrith took a conservative method with the younger playmaker.

That leaves Daine Laurie because the possible candidate to come back in at five-eighth, with Trent Toelau probably in line for his NRL debut at halfback.

The issue? Toelau was positioned on report for a hip-drop sort out in NSW Cup over the weekend and so he could also be suspended and due to this fact unavailable for choice.

Elsewhere, Soni Luke — who performed within the halves in Cup — additionally picked up an harm on the weekend and the hits don’t cease there for Penrith.

Mavrik Geyer, who has usually been added to the bench when the Panthers have been hit by accidents, was placed on report for strain on the kicker in Saturday’s NSW Cup loss.

Meaning he could also be unavailable whereas Matt Eisenhuth additionally failed his HIA take a look at within the win over Cronulla and is due to this fact additionally set to overlook subsequent week’s sport in opposition to the Dragons.

Sunia Turuva shapes as the apparent substitute for Edwards, though with Might stood down it means the Panthers will subject a makeshift backline.

Put merely, this might be a defining interval of the 2024 season for an understrength Penrith unit. However the Panthers have confirmed earlier than that they’ve the depth to remain afloat.


Api Koroisau was extensively thought of the frontrunner to put on the No.9 for the Blues in 2024.

The Tigers skipper started his season with a bang, delivering a number of masterful dummy-half performances to encourage his facet to a pair of wins over the Sharks and Eels.

Since then, Benji Marshall’s outfit have struggled and are within the midst of a seven-game shedding streak.

Koroisau’s kind has additionally dropped according to his workforce’s, however nonetheless he’s thought of one of many NRL’s most artistic and spectacular hookers.

Nonetheless, Maguire has opted to as a substitute decide Robson who brings a vastly completely different skillset.

Robson is a defensive-minded No.9 who will do a mountain of labor within the center, however that’s to not say Koroisau isn’t a powerful defender in his personal proper.

Robson’s performances in final 12 months’s Origin sequence had been additionally mentioned to be a think about Maguire’s choice, with Koroisau being dealt a brutal blow that dominated him out after Sport I.

He suffered a damaged jaw after a collision with Fa’asuamaleaui, and by no fault of his personal, wasn’t in a position to showcase his expertise for the ultimate two video games of the sequence.

What has additionally gone in opposition to Koroisau is Maguire’s choice to select Sharks enforcer Cameron McInnes. As a result of he’s obtained the flexibility to play at hooker, Maguire has picked a bench filled with forwards.

And due to this fact there’s no place for Koroisau, after he seemed a certainty so as to add to his 4 Origin appearances so far.


Josh Addo-Carr fought his approach again into the Blues facet in 2023 after he was controversially omitted by Brad Fittler in 2022.

Nonetheless, there’s no area for the Bulldogs gun as Maguire opted to go in a distinct path in 2024.

Maguire has beforehand made it clear kind might be a significant factor in his choice selections, however Addo-Carr has been robust to this point this season below Cameron Ciraldo.

Regardless of battling a shoulder harm suffered throughout Spherical 1, and an unsightly concussion in opposition to the Rabbitohs, Addo-Carr has nonetheless scored 4 tries.

What’s extra is he has the equal second most linebreaks within the NRL with 12. Nonetheless, his carries from the back-field might have let him down.

Maguire has opted to go together with Brian To’o, Stephen Crichton, Zac Lomax and Joseph Suaalii in his outdoors backs, and all 4 gamers do a mountain of labor out of their very own finish.

Suaalii is among the NRL’s strongest ball-runners whereas To’o’s potential to interrupt a sort out is second to none, having already tallied 86 sort out busts in 2024, probably the most of any participant.

One harm may see Addo-Carr thrust into the Blues outfit on this 12 months’s sequence, however for now ‘The Foxx’ might be on the surface wanting in.


Latrell Mitchell’s choice for this 12 months’s Origin sequence was closely debated.

The Rabbitohs famous person began the 12 months poorly earlier than he was sidelined for 3 weeks as a consequence of a suspension, along with his self-discipline and dedication coming into query.

Nonetheless, since returning the gun fullback has been robust with many pundits calling for his choice within the centres.

“Though Latrell hasn’t been capturing the lights out at fullback, he’s nonetheless doing sufficient good issues to have him within the centres for NSW,” Greg Alexander mentioned on Fox League.

“I don’t assume Queensland would need Latrell there – they might quite have another person there. Decide who they don’t need there.”

In the meantime, Andrew Johns mentioned “I feel Latrell is a should. Final night time he seemed in a extremely good head area and he’s a freak – he can do issues which no-one else can” on 9’s Sunday Footy Present.

Nonetheless, Mitchell didn’t do sufficient to pressure his approach into the squad. As a substitute, Maguire has opted to select Joseph Suaalii, who has been robust for the Roosters.

He was going through stiff competitors, with Kotoni Staggs, Jesse Ramien and Matt Burton additionally within the equation to companion Stephen Crichton.

Mitchell’s Origin absence now stretches again to the 2021 sequence, ruling himself out of the 2022 sequence after battling a hamstring harm. Then in 2023 he missed all three video games as a consequence of a niggling calf harm.

Whereas many consider Queensland might be respiration a sigh of reduction after his omission, Maguire believes he’s obtained higher gamers to fill the centre spots.


Somewhat little bit of a left-field one and clearly there are nonetheless two extra video games within the sequence for Stefano Utoikamanu to earn a spot within the facet.

However for now the Tigers entrance rower has missed out and it means he’s solely extra prone to take a look at the open market after this season.

Utoikamanu is contracted to the Tigers till the tip of the 2025 season, though he has a get out clause in his contract that can permit him to go away after this 12 months if he fails to play at the very least two Origin video games for NSW.

Now, the clause in his contract additionally permits Utoikamanu to get out of the deal if the Tigers fail to make the highest eight and at this price it seems unlikely that can occur so even when he was chosen by Maguire it might not imply something in the long run anyway.

However that is simply one other step in direction of Utoikamanu hitting the open market and probably leaving the Tigers simply as they’re beginning to construct in direction of the longer term.

Not less than with Koroisau lacking out on choice the Tigers may have one key participant out there as they appear to maneuver up the ladder.

Initially revealed as NSW Blues workforce winners and losers forward of State of Origin Sport 1

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