New South Wales coach Brad Fitler’s Tom Trobozevich has been sidelined due to injury and the game of guessing the State of Origin selection is in overdrive.
The Manly weapon will not be available for this year’s Origin series due to a shoulder dislocation during the Sea Eagles’ defeat to the Eagles on Friday night.
Fitler is set to unveil a new center-back for a game after five rounds of the NRL season with a trajectory injury and a loss to Lateral Mitchell in a hamstring injury.
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Penrith’s Stephen Crichton and Brisbane’s Cotoni Stags have yet to make their debut on the Origin stage, but Panther and Bronco are among the contenders for the Blues’ center position.
“Okay, there’s a week left to go. They’re both in good form, and the thing is, it’s a very important position,” Fitler told Nine.
“If you think of some centers in Queensland: Dan Gagai, Val Holmes. They’ve played 29 origins among them … whoever we choose there has a good chance of making their debut.
“So, it’s a big deal in front of anyone who will play at the center.”
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Cronulla’s Ciocefa Talakai, St. George’s Elvara’s Jack Lomax and Canterbury’s Matt Burton are also in controversy for lining up at debut centers.
Trobozevic played a key rowing role in the 2021 Origin series, covering a large area in the Queensland defense when he tried and pierced holes. He made four attempts, including a hat-trick in the opener.
“We had this particular style when he was playing where he popped up everywhere and it was really effective for us,” Fitler said.
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“I don’t think anyone else can do it (the role), so our game will change, which is what I’m looking forward to. From a coaching perspective, we have to play a little differently, which will really test the coaching staff.”
Fitler will announce his squad for the first match on Sunday night.
The Blues and Maroons will face off at the Sydney Olympic Park in the first game of the series next Wednesday night.
NSW won the 2021 series 2-1.
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