With NSW about to announce their squad for Game I, below isn't necessarily our team of choice, but the side we expect to be named.


James Tedesco

Forget calls for Turbo or Papenhuyzen to take over at one, Teddy is still the man. I maintain NSW would have won the series last year if Teddy hadn't exited through concussion.

He has been the Blues best player for many years now and should be a multiple time Player of the Series. Legend!

BRISBANE, AUSTRALIA - JULY 11: James Tedesco of the Blues scores a try during game three of the State of Origin series between the Queensland Maroons and the New South Wales Blues at Suncorp Stadium on July 11, 2018 in Brisbane, Australia. (Photo by Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images)


Josh Addo-Carr

An automatic selection on the wing in any side. Addo-Carr has enjoyed a brilliant Origin career to date and is one of the most dangerous players in the competition.

His speed means his opposition winger, and fullback, can never take their eyes off him. 'The Foxx' has a huge role to play.


Clint Gutherson

I would be picking either a full-time centre or Latrell Mitchell here but I just can't see Fittler overlooking 'King Gutho'. He absolutely loves the Eels star.

To his credit, Gutherson had his moments at centre in last years series. Again though, this is purely a prediction and one I hope is incorrect.


Tom Trbojevic

Turbo is the reason coaches believe fullbacks can star at centre. There is literally no other player in the game like the Manly megastar. If fit, he HAS to be there.

PERTH, AUSTRALIA - JUNE 23: Tom Trbojevic of the Blues celebrates a try during game two of the 2019 State of Origin series between the New South Wales Blues and the Queensland Maroons at Optus Stadium on June 23, 2019 in Perth, Australia. (Photo by Will Russell/Getty Images)

Origin II in 2019 was the most dominant performance from a centre since Inglis retired. He was unstoppable. Doesn't matter where he's named, he will be given a roaming role and will play as required.


Brian To'o

The Penrith winger's form simply can't be ignored. I expect him to get the nod above Daniel Tupou, although I won't be shocked if it does go the other way.

To'o will be tasked with bringing the ball out of his own end all night and there's no one better in the competition right now. Built for Origin. Can't wait for him to run out.


Jarome Luai

Freddy HAS to pick the red hot Luai. The Panthers combo is destroying everything in its path in 2021. It's an advantage QLD have no hope of matching.

Luai has easily outplayed both Walker and Wighton and if he is overlooked for either of the aforementioned options, it'll be a massive injustice.


Nathan Cleary

The form player of the competition and the first player picked. This is Nathan Cleary's side now for as long as he wants it. The Blues trump card. He's yet to really hammer home on the Origin stage but 2021 is the year.

The side will be built around him but ultimately Cleary will decide where the Shield ends up come the end of Origin III.

Watch Rugby League Outlaws for a full run down of the week's talking points


Payne Haas

There's a chance he may enter from the bench, however I think you have to lead with your biggest and best, and young Payne is both of those.

An absolute wrecking ball capable of blowing a game open. His offload will be a huge weapon. Look for 'Tommy Turbo' to follow Haas all night looking for second phase play.

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - MAY 28: Payne Haas in action during a New South Wales Blues State of Origin training session at NSWRL Centre of Excellence Field on May 28, 2019 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images)


Damien Cook

Truthfully Cook's form has been well down in 2021 but he has shown glimpses of blowing games open. The Blues NEED their number nine to be among the best players on the field to gain an advantage.

His speed out of dummy half is unmatched. Early on he just needs to get the ball to Cleary and tackle his heart out.


Daniel Saifiti

Another who may enter from the bench, but Saifiti's previous Origin efforts make him the run on for mine. He's been great for Newcastle all season despite their current woes.

He was a shock selection when first named, however it's tough to imagine a NSW front row without him now.

Second Row

Angus Crichton

The best second-rower in the game. Yes, I said it. The Roosters superstar is set for a huge series as he effectively replaced Boyd Cordner.

He needs to be the go to wide-running forward for the Blues all series. If he has a big series it goes a long way to rescuing back the Shield.

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - JUNE 24: James Tedesco, Angus Crichton, Boyd Cordner Damien Cook and Tyrone Peachey of the Blues celebrate with the crowd after victory in game two of the State of Origin series between the New South Wales Blues and the Queensland Maroons at ANZ Stadium on June 24, 2018 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)

Second Row

Tyson Frizell

Following last year's series I said that was it for Frizell. He has been one of Newcastle's best all year and looks a completely different player.

One of the most experienced players on the park, he needs to win his one on one battle, especially if marked up against David Fifita.


Jake Trbojevic

With Cam Murray injured I believe Freddy will stick with Jake Trbojevic. His form has been down throughout the year however has lifted massively in the last few weeks.

His efforts against the Eels were massive and guaranteed him a return to the Origin arena. Will play the opening 20/25 minutes and needs to win his direct battle with Tino.


Reagan Campbell-Gillard

Six weeks ago I didn't even have RCG in my top 25. However his recent form has been so damaging that he simply cannot be overlooked.

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - JUNE 01: Reagan Campbell-Gillard poses before a New South Wales State of Origin training session at Coogee Oval on June 1, 2018 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images)

I think Fittler goes with two genuine props here over say a Dale Finucane or Nathan Brown. RCG could start if required. We know Freddy likes his late switches in the middle.

Isaah Yeo

Will probably feel hard done by in being overlooked to start but Yeo HAS to be in the 17 somewhere.

I would start him but I can also understand bringing him on with 10 minutes before half time to run hard and often. Was great last year in difficult circumstances.

Junior Paulo

Paulo is having yet another big season for the Eels and will join his run on teammate RCG from the bench. He made a few errors last year but will be better for the experience.

His offload is SUPER dangerous and is a weapon the Blues will look to exploit just prior to half time. Watch for the likes of Cook and Teddy to trail.

Cody Walker

I went back and forth on this selection multiple times. It may be Wighton, it could even be Gutherson if Latrell is named at centre, but Freddy will name a utility player.

Walker can sit and be injected where and if needed. It's cover for Luai, which I don't usually like, but Walker can blow a game open and was in frightening form prior to being forced into playing fullback.

BRISBANE, AUSTRALIA - JUNE 05: Cody Walker of the Blues talks to team mates during game one of the 2019 State of Origin series between the Queensland Maroons and the New South Wales Blues at Suncorp Stadium on June 05, 2019 in Brisbane, Australia. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)


  1. 1. Tedesco
    2. Too
    3. Wighton
    4. T Turbo
    5. Addo-Carr
    6. Luai
    7. Cleary
    8. Haas
    9. Cook
    10. Paulo
    11. Crichton
    12. Frizzell
    13. J Turbo

    14. Walker
    15. D Saifiti
    16. Murray
    17. Yeo

    Not many surprises and really just a well balanced team. Freddy isn’t Latrells biggest fan but he loves Gutho and Wighton. I think Wighton is a better centre than Gutho, he’s more of an origin player and his strong carries will give QLD more issues. I think Paulo starts, parramatta often start really strong and I think Paulo laying a strong platform is key to a good start.

    Off the bench I think Freddy will opt for Walker over Gutho, because of the Cook and Murray connection in the middle. Freddy I think will opt for speed and versatility off the bench. Saifiti brings the size, but Murray brings a fast style and can play in the middle or out wide. Yeo can also play in the middle or outside and brings suprising strong carries.

    I think there may be a surprise selection like Tevita Pangai Jr who is young, can play in the middle or out wide, brings more size than some others, strong carries and a handy offload. Or Tyrone Peachey as the utility with his ability to play any position including hooker and his past performances showing he’s up to it if needed

  2. Tedesco



    18th man: To’o

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