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Tupou in surprise State of Origin recall

3 minute read

Four potential State of Origin debutants have been picked in a NSW squad that includes the shock selection of Daniel Tupou at the expense of Josh Addo-Carr.

DANIEL TUPOU. Picture: Tony Feder/Getty Images

NSW coach Brad Fittler has made the brutal call to drop Josh Addo-Carr and hand Daniel Tupou a State of Origin recall as part of a plan to counteract Queensland's looming aerial threat.

Fittler unveiled his 22-man squad in alphabetical order for next week's series opener with Stephen Crichton and Kotoni Staggs both set to debut in the centres.

Parramatta backrower Ryan Matterson and Cronulla star Nicho Hynes also loom as debutants off the bench, with Jack Wighton to be demoted to the reserves and Angus Crichton overlooked.

Manly favourite Jake Trbojevic is missing for the first time when fit during Fittler's four-series reign, while Liam Martin is also only expected to be a reserve after playing all three games last year.

Instead, Tyson Frizell and Reagan Campbell-Gillard have both won back their Blues jerseys, with Tariq Sims also retained alongside Cameron Murray in the back row.

Fittler has also kept the faith in Payne Haas, confident he can put the distractions of his Brisbane contract dramas to the side for the Blues.

The majority of hard-luck stories revolved around players at battling clubs, with a knee injury also killing off Newcastle forward Daniel Saifiti's hopes.

But it is former Melbourne-turned-Canterbury flyer Addo-Carr who can consider himself the unluckiest man, given he has scored 10 tries in 12 games for NSW and sits second all-time for the state.

Ultimately though, Fittler needed an answer to Queensland's high-flying wingers Xavier Coates and Selwyn Cobbo, assuming they are picked.

And at 196cm, Tupou is seen as just that while also acting as an aerial target himself for Penrith halfback Nathan Cleary.

The Panthers will again have the most picks in the 17-man team with five, with Brian To'o the one winger retained and joining Cleary, Crichton, Jarome Luai and Isaah Yeo in the side.

Martin and Apisai Koroisau are also in the 22-man squad and likely to act as reserves, with the latter there as back up for first-choice hooker Damien Cook.

Sydney Roosters young gun Joseph Suaalii has also been given his first experience in the squad and will act as a reserve, with Jacob Saifiti doing likewise.

Fittler will confirm his exact team on Monday morning with the 18th man the only reserve not to be released back to clubs to play in round 13 of the NRL.

But they will do so with the knowledge they can impress and push for call ups in the future, with Hynes, Matterson and Crichton having all previously been in camps before now earning their debuts.

"It's good to be back in camp with all the boys ... Freddy (Fittler) called me this morning and it's obviously very exciting," Hynes said.

"I learned a hell of a lot from the senior players last year, the way they prepare, how professional they all are.

"I try and take that back to club land and do the same thing this year."


James Tedesco (capt), Brian To'o, Stephen Crichton, Kotoni Staggs, Daniel Tupou, Jarome Luai, Nathan Cleary, Junior Paulo, Damien Cook, Payne Haas, Tariq Sims, Cameron Murray Isaah Yeo.

Bench: Nicho Hynes, Reagan Campbell-Gillard, Ryan Matterson, Tyson Frizell.

Reserves: Jack Wighton, Apisai Koroisau, Joseph Suaalii, Liam Martin, Jacob Saifiti.

* All players named in 22-man squad.

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