Selwyn Cobo will no longer be a teenager when he lines up for the national anthem before the State of Origin opener, but legendary New South Wales Blues coach Phil Gould still believes Boom Bronco has been selected for his Queensland debut soon.
Rookie Maroons coach Billy Slater couldn’t resist picking Cobbo behind his remarkable form in his second season in the NRL, locking him in for Queensland’s right wing.
The 19-game Bronco have exploded in recent weeks, making 10 attempts in his last six appearances, including three doubles and a hat-trick.
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But Kobbo’s ability without the ball is what Gold has questioned his Maroons selection.
“He’s definitely a player of the future,” he told Gold Nine 100% feet.
“Personally, I think it’s too early. But Queensland has done it with the outside back in the past and they obviously have huge opinions about (Cobo).
“He’s a strike player.”
Former NSW captain Paul Galen was shocked to see the Gold scene.
“Guys, the way you played it, did you think it was too early?” Galen said.
“For me, especially when he came out of the backfield – that’s where he was very harmful. He came out of the backfield and broke about 50-, 60-meters.
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“So you think it’s too early? Purely age?”
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Gold explained his thoughts.
“His reading in defense,” he replied.
“I think in a different level of pressure (it) can be said quite a bit at different stages of the game. That’s where he’ll be targeted, that’s where he’ll be found.
“Not so worried about him in the air, not so worried about bringing him back, he’s not afraid, he’s a big boy, he’s going to handle himself physically.
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“But the way these blocks play and the way they play the ball these days and the speed at which they do it and the accuracy of their passing, when you (James) are playing against Tedesco and this Fells, Jerome Louis – they’re going to target him on that side of the field.”
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Kobo will turn 20 three days before his original debut.
Melbourne Flyer Xavier Coates – The man lined up in the left wing of the Maroons made his original debut in 19 years and 235 days, getting a chance under Wayne Bennett in the 2020 opener.
Origin Caldron was known long before Greg Inglis and Israel Folao Cobbo.
Slater was rapt to give him a chance.
“He thanked you a few times,” the Maroon coach said with a smile.
“He’s a good guy and he took the game by storm. He really lit up the game, he brought a lot of excitement.
“He’s doing a lot of things that we don’t focus on. Besides, he’s a big reason to be there.”
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