BRISBANE, AUSTRALIA - JUNE 30: Nikola Cotric and Jarrod Croker of the Raiders celebrate a try during the round 16 NRL match between the Brisbane Broncos and the Canberra Raiders at Suncorp Stadium on June 30, 2018 in Brisbane, Australia. (Photo by Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images)

Tom Trbojevic has come out and confirmed what we all knew, and many feared, that he would be next to no chance for selection come Origin One.

The incumbent NSW winger, and Kangaroos centre, was a lock for selection anywhere across the back five, and his injury has left a huge hole in the Origin selection plans.

James Tedesco will line up at fullback with Josh Addo-Carr on the wing outside of Latrell Mitchell. Those three spots are locked in and jerseys printed, injury aside.

What is not locked in, however, is the opposite side of the field, with both the centre and wing spots now up for grabs. Given an injury to and the history in rep footy of Parramatta star Blake Ferguson, I’d argue that both spots are wide open.

You’d think that Ferguson is front runner to regain the now vacant wing position but Brad Fittler has already tasted success with his no nonsense selection policy.

Ferguson, for all of his amazing talents and his red hot form, may miss out on selection due to his choices in camp in years gone by. I wouldn’t be shocked to see him selected, perhaps even expect it, but Fittler has been very up front in saying he’s looking for representatives to be just that both on and off the field.

James Roberts is the other Origin incumbent, but given his own off-field issues and a severe lack of form, he’s fallen well out of must select status.

Plenty of names have been thrown up as wing and/or centre replacements but there are three players who stand head and shoulders above the rest right now.

Funnily enough they’ve become the almost ‘forgotten’ trio for possible Origin selection.

Even funnier is the fact that they’re all teammates and only one/two will emerge at the expense of the other(s).

Of course I’m talking about the red hot Raiders and their three Origin possibilities, Nick Notric, Joey Leilua and Jarrod Croker.

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Jarrod Croker

Perennial Origin contender Jarrod Croker is in red hot form right now and looks set for a possible call up to the Origin level, FINALLY!!! His name has been involved in Origin selection talk for the better part of five-plus years. I think that may even be possibly underselling it.

He would likely have to shift to the right to earn a call up with Latrell parked on the left for as long as he wants it. Croker, with almost 250 games of experience, should handle this without issue.

Croker looks the front runner right now given his experience and form. He may even be called upon to kick regardless of how Fittler is feeling with Cleary, Maloney and Latrell. It certainly would take pressure off the halves and the young centre, although this surely won’t factor in the decision making.

What will factor in is Croker’s attacking ability and improved defence. Once known as a turnstile, he has come good in defence. To say Croker knows his way to the try line would be an understatement. He has 117 to date at NRL level already. I wouldn’t be shocked to see him add one if selected for Origin I.

TOWNSVILLE, AUSTRALIA – APRIL 28: Jarrod Croker of the Raiders looks on during the round eight NRL match between the North Queensland Cowboys and the Canberra Raiders at 1300SMILES Stadium on April 28, 2018 in Townsville, Australia. (Photo by Ian Hitchcock/Getty Images)
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5 COMMENTS

  1. Crocker should have been there instead of Roberts a long time ago. He is a complete player where as Roberts can only run fast

    Big no for Leilua.
    Overrated and suffers way to many brain explosions.

    Cotric is good but is fourth choice.
    3rd choice would be Graham with Ferguson first choice and daylight 2nd.
    Seriously though, Ferguson is the best winger in the game and should be one of the first picked.
    For selfish reasons I hope Fittler has a brain fast and doesn’t pick him.

    The other player that should be there but hasn’t come up in to many discussions is Junior Paulo.
    He is the form prop of the comp and plays big minutes.
    He is built for SOO.

  2. Paulo the form prop in the comp, please that will do me… improved yes!!!! But was useless before anyways…

  3. Although I am a Raider through and through, I can say a big “No” to Joey. He can’t handle the big stage and is perennial for penalties. The other 2 are as safe as a house. The 2 “C’s” would be perfect, but knowing Freddy and his affiliation to the chooks I wouldn’t be surprised he goes with one of his own.

    Either way, more ammunition for the Raiders to finally kick on this year!

  4. I agree with Croker, a definite must. I don’t know how Roberts ever got picked in the first place, but good riddance. Cotric maybe, he’s a 50/50. But he’s big and strong and can find the try line and has strong carries in him to get out of the danger zone. So yeah I think he’ll handle it. Joey…he’s going great for us yes, but for origin I’m just not certain on him. Has to be the most dangerous centre in the game inside the 20m zone with exception to Mitchell who would be on the other side so I can see why he would be considered. Having the two most dangerous attacking centres in the game would be appealing. But I’d rather see Croker get the nod IMO.

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