New Queensland coach Billy Slater has nominated four first-time players on his squad for the opening game of this year’s State of Origin series, including teenage Selwyn Cobbo, as NSW coach Brad Fettler made the brutal call to ditch Josh Addo Carr and call up Daniel Topo.
Brisbane winger Koppo, who has scored 10 attempts in his last six NFL games, won a hotly contested race for a place in the Maroons’ defense ahead of teammate Corey Oates and North Queensland duo Hamisu Tabwai Fido and Murray Taulaji.
Oates did not make Slater’s extended 22-man roster, but there are points in the reserves for both Tabuai-Fidow and Taulagi. Alongside 19-year-old Kubo, cowboy Robin Cotter will make his lock-down debut, while Pat Carrigan and Jeremiah Nanai will make their state debuts from the bench.
The resplendent Cowboys have six players on their roster, with Valentin Holmes in the middle and Tom Dearden on the reserve list along with Tabway Fido and Tulagi. Gold Coast captain Tino Vaaswamalwe will start in the front row, but Slater has overlooked his teammates Mweki Fotoika and David Vivita.
Cotter’s selection means there is also no place for south Sydney’s Jai Arrow, a reserve player. St. George’s Captain Illawarra Ben Hunt has also been named a prostitute, with Melbourne’s Harry Grant in the companion role.
The Maroons will gather in Brisbane on Monday before traveling to the Gold Coast for their pre-match training camp on June 8 at Accor Stadium in Sydney.
New South Wales coach Fitler has presented his 22-man squad in alphabetical order for the series’ opening game next week, with Stephen Crichton and Cottony Staggs set to appear in the positions. Parramatta pro Ryan Matterson and Cronola star Nico Haynes also appeared as starters on the bench, with Jack Wheaton demoted to reserve and ignoring Angus Crichton.
Male favorite Jake Trbojevic is out for the first time if he fits in during Fitler’s four-series reign, while Liam Martin is also expected to be just a reserve after playing all three games last year. Instead, Tyson Frizzell and Reagan Campbell Gillard both reclaimed the blues, with Tariq Sims also remaining in the back row alongside Cameron Murray.
Fetler has also kept his faith in Bain Haas and is confident he can put his distractions away from his Brisbane dramas with the blues. Most of the unlucky stories centered on players at struggling clubs, and a knee injury ended the hopes of Newcastle striker Daniel Ceveti.
But it is Melbourne’s former Canterbury post, Addo Carr, who can call himself the luckiest man as he scored 10 attempts in 12 games for NSW – the second ever for the state. In the end, however, Fetler needed a reaction to the high-flying Queensland Wings Coates and Kubo.
QueenslandKalin Bunga, Selwyn Kubo, Valentine Holmes, Dane Gagai, Xavier Coates, Cameron Monster, Daly Sherry Evans (captain), Tino Vaaswamaloy, Ben Hunt, Josh Papale, Kurt Capwell, Feliz Kauvusi, Robin Cotter. Exchange: Harry Grant, Lindsey Collins, Patrick Carrigan, Jeremiah Nanai. Reserves: Tom Durden, Jay Aro, Thomas Flegler, Hamisu Tabwai Fido, Murray Taulagi.
New South Wales: James Tedesco (captain), Brian Toe, Stephen Crichton, Cottony Staggs, Daniel Topo, Jarome Lewis, Nathan Cleary, Junior Paulo, Damien Cook, Pine Haas, Tariq Sims, Cameron Murray, Isaah Yu, Nico Hines, Reagan Campbell-Gillard, Ryan Matterson, Tyson Frizzell, Jack Wheaton, Abysai Kuruwaso, Joseph Swale, Liam Martin, Jacob Safety.