NSW advisor Greg Alexander says form was a key reason behind he and coach Brad Fittler’s decision to leave Josh Addo-Carr out of the Blues squad for game one.
The Blues on Sunday night shocked rugby league fans when it was revealed Addo-Carr would be dumped in favor of veteran Roosters winger Daniel Tupou, who returns for his first Origin match since the Blues’ unsuccessful 2020 campaign.
Addo-Carr’s axing comes despite having featured in every Origin match since 2018.
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Alexander said that while it’s not uncommon to see players out of form retain their spots, the decision to go with the taller 196-centimetre Tupou was also made to counter who Queensland might pick on the opposite side of the ball.
“The Foxx, he’s out of form. I know you pick players and plenty of players have been picked when they’re in bad form or not great form, but they’ve done the job before,” Alexander told SEN.
“Within mind with what Queensland will be picking, we just decided we would go with Daniel Tupou instead of Josh Addo-Carr.
“Daniel Tupou has been in great form as well. He’s also been there, he did a great job for us in 2020. I thought he was one of our better players in 2020.
“He’s a great carry out of his own end. He’s tall, he’s a target for our kicks, but he can also defend kicks.
“While you like to pick and stick, as the term goes, and stay with those who have done the job, I think there are some specialist positions you need to take into account what the other team will throw at you.”
Addo-Carr has arguably endured his toughest season on the field after departing heavyweights Melbourne for Canterbury, who sit at the bottom of the table with two wins from 12 games.
Another big selection call was the inclusion of teen star Joseph Suaalii, who has played only 12 NRL games.
But coach Fittler said it’s unlikely Suaalii will see any time on the field, with his inclusion made with an eye to the future.
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“It was a hard one this year. It was a case of a few players playing their way in,” Fittler said on Nine’s Today. “I know a lot of people are talking about Josh Addo-Carr, but I think Daniel Tupou has been incredible for the Roosters.
“I brought young Joseph Suaalii in.
“He most probably won’t start in the team, so there’s a little scoop for you.
“There’s a good chance Selwyn Cobbo will be playing for Queensland, and that’s what you want to do – give these kids a chance.
“In this situation, especially playing on the wing, sometimes playing with those people – if you have enough experience on the edges and there’s enough communication, the one thing they won’t have been a part of is the noise that you get in State of Origin.
“Hopefully we can open them to these sorts of experiences, so when they get their chance they’re ready to go.”
FULL NSW GAME ONE SQUAD (alphabetical order)
Reagan Campbell-Gillard (Parramatta Eels), Nathan Cleary (Penrith Panthers), Damien Cook (South Sydney Rabbitohs), Stephen Crichton (Penrith Panthers), Tyson Frizell (Newcastle Knights), Payne Haas (Brisbane Broncos), Nicho Hynes (Cronulla- Sutherland Sharks), Apisai Koroisau (Penrith Panthers), Jarome Luai (Penrith Panthers), Junior Paulo (Parramatta Eels), Liam Martin (Penrith Panthers), Ryan Matterson (Parramatta Eels), Cameron Murray (South Sydney Rabbitohs), Jacob Saifiti ( Newcastle Knights), Tariq Sims (St George Illawarra Dragons), Kotoni Staggs (Brisbane Broncos), Joseph Suaalii (Sydney Roosters), James Tedesco (c) (Sydney Roosters), Brian To’o (Penrith Panthers), Daniel Tupou (Sydney Roosters), Jack Wighton (Canberra Raiders), Isaah Yeo (Penrith Panthers)
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