Former Wests Tigers' veteran forward Chris Lawrence has openly questioned Michael Maguire's decision to axe Apisai Koroisau from the NSW Blues State of Origin side for Game 1 of this year's series.

In a team list which included numerous surprises, Maguire elected to run with North Queensland Cowboys' rake Reece Robson at number nine ahead of the star Tiger, who has been the Blues' hooker in recent years and is widely regarded as one of the best in the game.

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Koroisau's perceived lack of ability to play 80 minutes at Origin level may have cost him the jersey, with Robson among the best in a Cowboys' side that have had a mixed first three months of the 2024 campaign.

Robson has already made his debut at Origin level, though, and will be backed up by Cronulla Sharks' forward Cameron McInnes, who has been named to start at lock by Maguire.

Despite that, Lawrence asked whether the decision was a "gee up".

"Just saw the NSW Origin side, is that a gee up or has Api actually been left out?"

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In a follow-up tweet, Lawrence said Robson is a great player, but that Apisai Koroisau is the only player on par with Harry Grant.

"No disrespect to Reece Robson I think he is a great player and should be in the side with Api. But if Api isn't the best 9 in NSW and on par with Harry Grant as the best 9 in the game, then I probably have my eyes painted on," Lawrence wrote.

Lawrence isn't the only one left flabbergasted by the decision, but Maguire is confident Robson will do the job for him in the series opener, which is played in Sydney on June 5.

The series will then move to Melbourne and Brisbane.