NSW coach Brad Fittler is set to pull a late switch for his Blues side for Origin I on Wednesday night – and it ‘makes a lot of sense’.
Meanwhile, Josh Addo-Carr continues to win plenty of plaudits despite his tough axing after years of starring for Fittler’s side.
Here’s all the latest in today’s Origin Daily!
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CRICHTON OR WIGHTON?
Rumours continue to grow that Brad Fittler will backflip on one of his most controversial selection decisions, and instead have Panthers gun Stephen Crichton start at the centres in place of Jack Wighton.
Phil Rothfield this morning told Sky Sports Radio’s Big Sports Breakfast: “We keep hearing that Stephen Crichton won’t take his place on the bench and will actually be in the starting line-up and play in the centres. And Jack Wighton will drop back to the bench.
“I think it makes a lot of sense, his relationship with the Penrith halves and Brian To’o and Isaah Yeo the lock forward.
“I think that would strengthen the NSW side. I’m not being critical at all of Jack Wighton. He’s a great player and you know he’ll get his job done there.
“But I just like combinations. It’s one thing (that) NSW has the advantage over the Queenslanders, with that Penrith combination. They’ve been clearly the best side all year, they’re the best four or five players at the Penrith club and they should all be on the field together.”
Wighton has 10 Origin caps under his belt, but has played just five games at centre for Canberra this season. NSW assistant Greg Alexander told SEN radio last week:
“It was a very difficult decision coming up with who should fill the spots of Latrell Mitchell and Tom Trbojevic who were the centres in all three games last year.
“I think the fact that Jack’s played centre on five occasions and has done a good job, we just like the energy from Jack, the aggressive nature that he plays the game and Stephen is there to cover for the fullback, wing or centre spots.
“Jack’s won it because of the aggressive way he plays football, high-energy, he loves chasing kicks, that’s a big part of Origin.
“A big part of Origin isn’t the skill you bring to the game but what you do for your teammates.
“We’ve gone with Jack’s way in this one.”
HUGE PRAISE FOR FOXX’S REACTION
Josh Addo-Carr might have been on all of the NRL’s marketing material for State of Origin this year, but he won’t be taking part in Origin I.
His reaction to being axed by the Blues has been nothing short of professional and humble.
Phil Rothfield, returning from a trip to Melbourne to watch George Kambosos fight, was immensely impressed after seeing the veteran Bulldogs flyer interact with fans at the airport.
Rothfield told Big Sports Breakfast: “I bumped into him at the airport, Josh Addo-Carr. I’ve never ever seen anyone do as many selfies as he did.
“Despite what’s happened, he’s got a smile on his face. He’s joking around with the punters.
“The way he’s carried himself – I interviewed him last week – he’s not dirty on the Blues whatsoever. He’ll still be sitting there and cheering them and he’s desperate for NSW to win. He wants his spot back (but) I just really admire the way he’s taken this setback.”
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GRANT GRANTED GREEN LIGHT
Queensland’s Harry Grant has declared himself fully fit for Game I after recovering from the flu and a groin injury. The 24-year-old only arrived at the Maroons’ base at Sanctuary Cove last Wednesday due to his illness and injury, but is raring to go.
And Rothfield confirmed this morning that the Storm rake would be right to play, coming off the bench with Ben Hunt starting at hooker.
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