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Rugby League

Locked & Loaded

Origin 2023 is upon us.  With game two this year being played in the other state, you could say game one is almost a must win for the Blues because we all know the other team grows an extra arm and a ref at home.

by George Togafana I     24 May 2023

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For Freddy and his staff, getting the selections right is crucial.  He has chosen to go with a mixture of experienced combinations that have had much success in clubland over the last few years and welcomed back some old familiar faces who return after injury and missing selection in 2022.  Let’s break down the New South Wales team for Origin One.


Cleary, Luai, To’o, Tedesco, Haas, Yeo, Paulo, Murray.  These are the players that if fit, pick themselves.  The lunchtime rugby captains, and the ones that always got picked first.  If the coach had a template for his team list I would almost guarantee that these names would be printed.  Tedesco returns as captain again and looks to be peaking at just the right moment, you could argue that his form has slumped this year but he’s a big game player who will no doubt show his class through this series.  Haas is the best forward in the game, his selection needs no explanation. Cleary continues to show his class and at the age of 25 has achieved it all.  The uso Luai gets in despite many calling for the reigning Dally M Medallist Nicho Hynes’ to replace him and to be fair Hynes’ form would have put a lot of pressure on the selectors to follow through on that change.  Luai though laid on a “aua le pese” type performance against the Roosters a couple of weeks ago ultimately winning the fight for the number 6 jersey.  Yeo adds to that Penrith combination and Paulo and Murray round out the group of the have to’s.


To be honest, until last week I had Crichton locked into the centres alongside Trellmit but the uce Turbo turned up on the weekend, reminding all of us that must have forgotten.  It is a risk though given his run of injuries lately but looked to finally be running freely so here’s hoping he can stay fit cause a supercharged Turbo can be the most dangerous player in the park. Latrell’s form this year with the Bunnies has been hard to ignore.  An X-Factor player who can create opportunities for his outside man and like Turbo will be playing out of position but it’s not a foreign one to him, having played there for a large part of his early career and during NSW’s triumphant 2021 series.  After being controversially dropped last year, the fastest man on the planet Josh Addo Carr returns to the fold as a now senior member of the group, his energy and positivity will help to lift and motivate the boys around him. 


100% my favourite selection. No disrespect to Cook but Api just offers more. NSW selectors got this one right, reuniting the Tigers captain with his former Penrith team-mates.  Look for his deception and smarts to put NSW on the front foot.



Hynes was always going to be selected whether at 6 or as a bench utility he has to be there.  His form for the Sharks has been massive over the last couple of years. Hudson Young’s been in the conversations throughout the season and gets a starting debut. I do worry about his unpredictability and recklessness sometimes, but he looks more mature and if he can channel his energy positively, he will do well.  TPJ is the surprise pick even for me as a Doggies fan.  He has shown moments of brilliance throughout the year but is one of those rocks or diamonds type players who can absolutely change the game with his physicality but can also hurt you with some of his decision making.  Hopefully he can repay the faith Freddy has shown in him.


Or should I say unluggy dox.  Haumole Olokoatu for me is unlucky to miss out on selection but I guess with Frizell returning to form this year it would have been hard to fit him in.  I love his physicality and his ability to straighten in the line to allow space for his outside backs to do their thing.  He is still young though and I have no doubt that should he be called upon he’ll be ready.


Overall not the strongest team we can field but I back them to get the job done in Adelaide.  I believe that the team who can wrestle the momentum early will win this.  They’ll need to keep an eye on the opposite number 1.  He for me will be their danger man but I’m backing the boys to come out on top in a tight game to win 22-18. Let's go the Blues.

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