New South Wales coach Brad Fitler has made several huge selection calls for naming a new-look blues squad for the State of Origin opener.
Fitler’s squad consists of six players who have yet to make their origins – Stephen Crichton, Nico Hynes, Ryan Matterson, Jacob Saifiti, Joseph Swalli and Cotoni Stags, the two main founders of the previous Blues campaign, Josh Ado-Carr and Jack Trobojevic. .
Seven of the 22 players selected are from current Premier Penrith, and Roosters star James Tedesco will captain the team for the second year in a row.
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One of Fitler’s biggest calls was the choice of roster winger Daniel Tupu over Ado-Car, and he explained the thought process behind withdrawing the 30-year-old shock.
“Well, I’m surprised people will be surprised,” he told 9News Sydney.
“(Tupu’s) the best winger for years. He’s always on my radar.
“I’ve coached the City team and the State of Origin (Tupu) before, and I’ve always liked him as part of my team.”
With Latrell Mitchell and Tom Trobozevich missing due to injuries, Fitter’s line-up will feature a rookie pairing at the center with Crichton Partnership Stags.
“It’s a pretty clever position. It’s very important defensively,” Fitler said of the centers.
“Our centers will have a lot of work to do and some big decisions to make, but at the end of the day it’s about the team and I don’t think a position will cost you anything.”
The 2022 State of Origin series kicks off on June 8, with the first game taking place at Sydney’s Acre Stadium.
Full New South Wales Game One Team
Reagan Campbell-Gillard (Paramatta Iles), Nathan Cleary (Penrith Panthers), Damien Cook (South Sydney Rabitohs), Stephen Crichton (Penrith Panthers), Tyson Frigel (Newcastle) Sharks), Episai Koroisau (Penrith Panthers), Jerome Louai (Penrith Panthers), Jr. Paolo (Paramatta Ils), Liam Martin (Penrith Panthers), Ryan Matterson (South Parambatta Ilnes) Rabito (Newcastle Knights), Tariq Sims (St. George’s Elvara Dragons), Cotoni Stags (Brisbane Broncos), Joseph Suali (Sydney Roasters), James Tedesco (Sydney Roasters), Brian Too (Paniro) Roasters), Jack Whitton (Canberra Riders), Isaah Yeo (Penrith Panthers)
More to come