The first game of State of Origin is just weeks away, and the NSW Blues are eager to exact revenge on their inter-state rivals after losing the 2022 State of Origin series 2-1.

We have predicted who the 17 players in the NSW team will be with multiple major and minor changes to both the backline and forwards.

Fullback: James Tedesco

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - JULY 10: James Tedesco of the Blues celebrates scoring the match winning try during game three of the 2019 State of Origin series between the New South Wales Blues and the Queensland Maroons at ANZ Stadium on July 10, 2019 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images)

It's James Tedesco; need I say more?

While his form has not been at its polarising best for the Roosters so far in 2023 Tedesco is still undeniably the best fullback in the game and will keep his number 1 jersey for the Blues.

The Blues captain has not yet had a bad game in the Origin arena and is arguably among the top five players every time he has taken the field in the state-versus-state clash.

Assuming there is no injury crisis, Tedesco is a lock for Origin selection and will be a no-brainer for coach Brad Fittler.

Honourable Mention: Clinton Gutherson

Wingers: Brian To'o & Reuben Garrick

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - JULY 21: Reuben Garrick of the Sea Eagles celebrates scoring a try during the round 18 NRL match between the Manly Sea Eagles and the Parramatta Eels at Lottoland on July 21, 2019 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

Another member of the squad who has picked himself this year is Penrith winger Brian To'o.

Origin demands strong starts to every set, and the wingers are often a key part of that formula. Currently at second in post-contact meters, behind only Payne Haas, To'o is quite literally built for Origin.

With Brad Fittler's Daniel Tupou experiment failing last year and Addo-Carr unavailable for selection in Origin I, now is the perfect opportunity to off Reuben Garrick a crack at representative footy.

Garrick has many factors working in his favour in 2023, being a solid option for a second-string kicker should Cleary go down, as well as a potential club combination with Tom Trbojevic available on the wing.

A club combination with a potential centre Trbojevic could be the difference here, playing together for so long, they should already be on the same page, which is something NSW need, especially in defence.

Garrick is averaging a solid 144 running metres in 2023 and his work ethic is undeniable whenever he takes the field.

Honourable Mentions: Joseph Suaalii, Daniel Tupou

Centres: Tom Trbojevic & Latrell Mitchell

BRISBANE, AUSTRALIA - JUNE 05: Latrell Mitchell of the Blues reacts to the loss 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 Jono Searle/Getty Images)

Nobody can argue with the damage 'Turbo' can cause with the ball in hand, and it is expected Brad Fittler to think the same way.

Likely to be given a license to roam when NSW has the ball, Trbojevic is an extremely likely option. The star fullback has shown time and time again that he can completely transform a team at the club level, which is exactly the spark that NSW needs throughout a series.

While there have been talks headlined by Paul Gallen to play Trbojevic on the wing, this can only be seen as a waste of potential as it robs the game-breaker of time with the ball in his hands.

For part two of the 2021 revival,  Latrell Mitchell will lace up in the centres to haunt Queensland defenders once again.

If you want to have threats all across the park, essentially having the three fullbacks of Teddy, Turbo, and Latrell may be the way to go.

One of the most damaging ball-runners in the game and one with a late offload Latrell is a perfect fit to return to the centres in 2023.

Latrell has had plenty of time in the position at all levels of the game and should therefore be another easy pick for Bread Fittler's side.

Honourable Mentions: Campbell Graham, Stephen Crichton

Five-Eighth: Nicho Hynes

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - MAY 30: Nicho Hynes poses during a New South Wales Blues State of Origin squad Media Opportunity at Crowne Plaza Coogee on May 30, 2022 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images)

Perhaps the most difficult decision for coach Brad Fittler is his five-eighth. However, due to Nicho Hynes' current form with the Sharks, he is a must in the NSW jersey.

Hynes himself has admitted to preferring the six jersey in a bid to sway Fittler's decision in his favour. This will unfortunately leave out Jarome Luai from returning to the Origin arena.

“I think I'm a traditional No.6,” Hynes said, as reported by the Sydney Morning Herald.

“If Nathan is controlling the game, I can pop up where I'm needed and try to manipulate defensive lines.

“Jarome is the incumbent, he's been there and done it. If (Fittler) went with him, I'd understand. But I'll definitely put my hand up to play Origin, and I'll be going for it.”

Honourable Mention: Jarome Luai

Halfback: Nathan Cleary

State of Origin - QLD v NSW: Game 1
ADELAIDE, AUSTRALIA - NOVEMBER 04: Nathan Cleary of the Blues offloads the ball during game one of the 2020 State of Origin series between the Queensland Maroons and the New South Wales Blues at the Adelaide Oval on November 04, 2020 in Adelaide, Australia. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

Another no-brainer for coach 'Freddy' is the Prince of Penrith, Nathan Cleary.

Having never waivered from Cleary at halfback by choice, one of the arguably best players in the game will be a lock at halfback for the Blues.

Having impressive game control, the best kick selection and execution in the competition and having a strong combination with all the Panthers squad in the team, Cleary will feature for NSW.

The 25-year-old will undoubtedly be the go-to man for NSW throughout the series and given his form over recent years.

While some say he still has not had a stand-out performance in the Origin arena, Freddy would be crazy to leave him out of the side.

Honourable Mention: Mitchell Moses

Props: Jake Trbojevic & Payne Haas

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)

Don't expect any changes in the front row as Jake Trbojevic and Payne Haas will take the two spots.

Haas has been close to the best player in the NRL this season and has helped lead the Broncos to the top of the table. He has also been a top early favourite to take out the Dally M Medal.

Equally strong in defence and attack, his offloads after initial contact will be extremely useful, allowing the Blues a double-play.

Trbojevic is the exact same, but is more of a ball-runner, playing lock for the Manly Sea Eagles at club level.

His combination with Isaah Yeo and hard running gives Brad Fittler an easy choice to choose him.

Honourable Mentions: Junior Paulo, Jacob Saifiti, Daniel Saifiti

Hooker: Damien Cook

BRISBANE, NEW SOUTH WALES - JULY 11: Damien Cook of the Blues breaks through the Queensland defence 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 Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)

The incumbent NSW hooker will be the favourite to lock down the position once again in 2023.

Still playing consistent footy at the South Sydney, Cook almost perfectly compliments the ruck speed of the Blues pack.

Cook's running game is unbelievable out of dummy half, and behind a star-studded forward pack, he is only able to unleash it more.

His service options are always on point, and he continues to show at the Rabbitohs he will pick the right offensive option nine times out of ten.

Having played 15 matches for the Blues, Cook's defence has always proved to be sound, rarely presenting an opportunity for defenders to pass the long-serving number 9.

Honourable Mention: Apisai Koroisau

Second-Row: Cameron Murray & Haumole Olakau'atu

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - JULY 10: Cameron Murray of the Blues makes a break during game three of the 2019 State of Origin series between the New South Wales Blues and the Queensland Maroons at ANZ Stadium on July 10, 2019 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

The Rabbitohs skipper should be yet another easy choice for a Blues jersey in 2023.

A defensive workhorse, Murray is currently averaging 42 tackles per game as well as big minutes, playing a minimum of 59 minutes so far this year.

Offensively, he still offers plenty of strike with his strong line running, which has seen him average a solid 137 metres in a saturated South Sydney pack.

Haumole Olakau'atu has made a strong enough case in 2023 for his origin debut following a blockbuster start to his year at Manly.

The back-rower has five tries in eight matches to start the year and is also averaging 135 metres this year. Olakau'atu has also not touched the bench so far this year, which is a great sign for Origin-ready fitness.

However, the reason the Manly enforcer should be selected is that isn't shown statistically, his big hits and intimidation factor.

Honourable Mentions: Liam Martin, Angus Crichton, Hudson Young

Lock: Isaah Yeo

NSW v QLD - State of Origin Game 1
SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - JUNE 08: Isaah Yeo of the Blues is tackled in the last play of the match during game one of the 2022 State of Origin series between the New South Wales Blues and the Queensland Maroons at Accor Stadium on June 08, 2022, in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)

An automatic pick on the side, Isaah Yeo has cemented the #13 jersey in all areas of the club and representative level.

The dual premiership-winning captain of the Panthers, Yeo is reliable on both ends of the field and will lead the forwards against the Queensland forward pack.

The best lock in the NRL competition, Yeo has won three consecutive Dally M Lock of the Year awards and looks to add another at the end of this season, off his current form.

Unlike other locks, Yeo's passing ability will allow Hynes and Cleary more movement around the ruck and generate a better structure with the backline.

Honourable Mention: Ryan Matterson

Interchange: Apisai Koroisau, Liam Martin, Junior Paulo & Hudson Young

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - JUNE 03: Apisai Koroisau passes during a New South Wales Blues State of Origin training session at NSWRL Centre of Excellence on June 03, 2021 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Jason McCawley/Getty Images)

With the dual hookers still being a dominant strategy in 2023, expect Koroisau to return for NSW and add to his tally of three matches.

Arguably the most crafty hooker in the competition, he can sense an opportunity before it even arrives and is the perfect option to expose a tired defensive line.

Liam Martin is another who is set to return again for the Blues if he is able to recover from injury in time. Starting on the bench will allow Martin to deliver a bigger impact in limited minutes as he is not yet back to full fitness. He has illustrated in the past, he can easily succeed in this role.

The same can be said for Junior Paulo. Paulo was instrumental in the forwards last year, with his size and physicality adding an extra dynamic to the Blues team. Being a part of the Blues team since 2020, he is very likely to regain a spot in the NSW jersey.

As Koroisau takes the utility role, it will allow Brad Fittler to bring in another forward on the interchange bench. State of Origin is notoriously known for being played in the middle of the forward, but Fittler may look to bring in a back0rower in case of any injuries in the backline.

Enter Hudson Young.

Always around the representative footy conversation, Young is a perfect fit for the team. A great presence and ball runner in attack, he is equally damaging in defence.


  1. Not too much with which I could disagree, other than Campbell Graham for Turbo.
    CG is playing very well. Turbo looks slow and playing bust; and even when he is fit his defence is not a patch on Graham’s.

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