NSW coach Brad Fittler’s team for State of Origin Game 1 has reportedly leaked out ahead of the series opener.
The Blues coach confirmed on TV on Sunday morning Broncos forward Payne Haas is fit to play and admitted Panthers forward Isaah Yeo will be selected.
However, rumours emerged Sunday afternoon to reveal NSW will have at least two squad debutants.
The Australian’s Brent Read first reported Fittler has shrugged off the lure of selecting Panthers No. 9 Api Koroisau, giving incumbent hooker Damien Cook first crack for the series, which starts on June 9 in a game still scheduled for the MCG despite Melbourne’s lockdown.
The more eye-catching pieces of the puzzle include reports Panthers five-eighth Jarome Luai will be selected.
Freddy has some explaining to do.Source:News Corp Australia
It was first reported by The Sydney Morning Herald Sunday that the No. 6 jumper still remains a mystery with both Luai and Dally M player of the year Jack Wighton to be picked in the squad. Whoever misses out on the starting spot is expected to earn a spot on the bench as the utility wildcard.
The report claims Wighton will not be picked in the centres as he was last year with Tom Trbojevic and Latrell Mitchell to line up in the centres, replacing Clint Gutherson and Wighton.
Fittler is also reportedly set to hand Panthers winger Brian To’o his debut Blues jumper with the Penrith flyer being picked ahead of Roosters winger Daniel Tupou.
Parramatta’s Nathan Brown, Rabbitohs playmaker Cody Walker, Melbourne’s Dale Finucane and Gutherson are expected to lose their spots.
Fittler earlier was given the good news that both Cameron Murray and Tariq Sims had avoided suspensions and are free to play in the series opener.
Fittler’s team will include four players from the undefeated Panthers’ side, but there are as many as seven Penrith players who could play this series should Fittler turn to rising star centre Matt Burton, forward Liam Ryan or Koroisau.
Fittler’s team are seeking redemption after they were ambushed last year by Queensland coach Wayne Bennett in one of the biggest upsets in the history of the Origin concept.
Likely NSW team for Game 1
Brad Fittler is going all in on the Panthers’ hot streak.Source:Getty Images
1. James Tedesco
2. Josh Addo-Carr
3. Latrell Mitchell
4. Tom Trbojevic
5. Brian To’o
6. Jarome Luai
7. Nathan Cleary
8. Daniel Saifiti
9. Damien Cook
10. Payne Haas
11. Tyson Frizell
12. Cameron Murray
13. Jake Trbojevic
14. Jack Wighton
15. Junior Paulo
16. Tevita Pangai-Junior/Liam Martin/Ryan Matterson/Tariq Sims
17. Isaah Yeo
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