With any Origin Loss comes a call for change – and we’ll probably see some new faces in State of Origin II – but who has to go and who has to come?
Brad Fitler has shown in his tenure that he is willing to change when needed, with only James Tedesco and Damien Cook appearing in 13 games during Freddie’s reign.
There’s no chance we’ll see the same 17 in three weeks – and while there are some guarantees to keep their mark, there are players who should feel nervous about their place in the team.
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Edge: Tariq Sims
Possible replacement: Angus Cricton, Keon Kolomatangi, Tyson Frisel, Haumole Olakauatu
It’s fair to say that Tariq Sims didn’t do his best outing in a Sky Blue jumper, most notably being caught defensively to the Daily Cherry-Evans for trying too soft. He had some great games for NSW, and was definitely able to come back.
Scrum debates when DCE is coming on foot to try
But Sims’ main problem is that the second row is probably the deepest position in terms of players available to the Blues. Angus Crichton and Tyson Frizell have experience at this level, Keaon Koloamatangi was around the camp last year and Manly’s Haumole Olakau’atu’s form cannot be ignored – although perhaps his Instagram post for Queensland last night could be hilarious.
That quartet could come in for any two games, or Sims could easily hold his place and have a blinder – but either way it’s a plot point.
Edge: Liam Martin
Possible replacement: Jake Trobozevich, David Klemer
The decision to take Cameron Murray on the bench raised eyebrows, and then letting him play in the middle for 15 minutes or more before the end of the game didn’t really work, until the last few minutes when the Southern captain saw some early ball, and a great try score.
Martin is a good player, but New South Wales have a clear ‘Big Three’ in their forward packs Murray, Payne Haas and Isaah Yeo – and all three should be on the field as much as possible.
Blues Big Bopper tried to pick him up
With Yeo at 13, Marek will have to stay on the edge and play the majority if not the whole game.
This would open up another space in the middle rotation, and with Jack Trobojevic seemingly a logical replacement, a player like David Klemer would be perfect to make the maximum impact in a limited minute. It remains to be seen whether his card is permanently marked for origin.
Edge: Cotoni Stags
Possible replacement: Lateral Mitchell, Stephen Crichton, Campbell Graham, Jack Lomax, Matt Burton
The severity of Cotoni Stags’ injury is not entirely certain, but if it’s just a cork, he’ll probably be able to back up for Brisbane this week, so don’t hesitate to be in doubt for two games in the series.
Regardless, the Broncos were relatively quiet 52 minutes before coming to the center – and another star of Stephen Crichton cooling his heels on the bench and waiting in the wings of Matt Burton, Campbell Graham or Jack Lomax, could make a difference.
If Lateral Mitchell is fit then this is a key issue – his game-breaking ability cannot be underestimated and if he can play he should return straight to the team – and leaving alone last night, Jack Whitton is the center who deserves his place along the Rabbitohs fullback. Keep.
Edge: Stephen Crichton
Possible replacement: Api Koroisau, Nicho Hynes, Reece Robson
It has always been difficult for Crichton to come to the center or wing as an ‘impact player’, and you can absolutely create the conditions for him in the starting lineup of two games, it seems like a waste. A bench spot has him 14 again.
Crichton’s first original moment was a dangerous tackle
Jack Whitton was great at the center and should hold his place, which means a player like Nico Hynes could come and play the ‘Michael Morgan role’ that was prevalent in Origin in recent years – but it could be more useful to carry a second dummy half instead of New South Wales. Will.
Damien Cook did some good things, but managed to get himself on the ground and could use just one spell last night. AP Koroisau and Rees Robson have both played well enough to justify this year’s election, and there could be a nice change of pace options between the two halves.
Edge: Daniel Tupu
Possible replacement: Josh Addo-Car
The Roosters Veteran was a humiliating choice for many, but Valentine didn’t make too many mistakes in the end without being caught flat-footed by Holmes’ efforts.
However, if Fitler thinks he needs to ring the change, it’s an easy change – Tupau never disappointed anyone, but Josh Ado-Car never did.
The moment of gold that lost the essence of the blues
And it wouldn’t be post-Genesis damage without a completely confusing panic coming from a blue inspiration, so for the sake of logic, there are two possible changes that are highly unlikely, but very unlikely.
Eighth: Jerome Louie
Possible replacement: Mitch Musa
The obsession with combinations is well-known in rip football, and Louis has long been the perfect foil for Nathan Cleary – but it became clear last night how much of a difference it could be with multiple kicking options.
With Cleary hitting the hammer all night, and the tackle count late to the stage where he struggled to find his range, Queensland’s Ben Hunt, Daily Cherry-Evans and Cameron Munster were all able to turn the tide.
DCE has 13 kicks in 19 Munster, with Hunt making several valuable contributions. In comparison, Cleary has kicked 20 times and his club partner only twice.
Paramatman Mitchell Moses, in form, was the best halfback in the NRL in 2022 – with Radar Cleary and Adam Reynolds, and if the Blues wanted, he had enough running games to justify his selection in six jerseys. Another elite kick option.
Hooker: Damien Cook
Possible replacement: Opi Koroisau
Another controversial, and highly unlikely. But for the sake of argument, there is an incident where Koroisau is a more dynamic player at this stage of his career, as well as he plays his club footy with half of the Blues team.
But Cook had a major base under Brad Fitler, he spent a beautiful year for the responsible Australian hookers and rabbits.
He had some tough moments on Wednesday night where he seemed to lose a bit in the dummy half, but also had a lot of good touches, most notably the great pass he threw that led to Jack Whitton’s opening attempt, it was a help for junior Paolo. Try, and do some great work to keep James Tedesco in a hole.
Of all the changes to this list, it will be the most amazing at some distance.
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