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.
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.
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.