To kick off 2017, we take a look at some of the up-and-coming male and female stars who will hope to represent NSW this year and in the future. Today we look at a man who burst onto the representative scene in 2016: Tyson Frizell.
At 25 years of age, few people were in any doubt at the start of 2016 that Tyson Frizell could play. His bulking, 109kg frame is one to be feared, while he is more than capable of playing 80 minutes in the second row. The season passed, however, elevated him to one of the biggest emerging threats to the Queensland defence.
The abundance of second row talent in NSW meant that Frizell needed certain things to fall his way to earn Origin selection last year; that came in the form of a Wade Graham suspension in the lead-up to Game II. He proved to everyone that he deserved to be there in that game, with a vital try and never-say-die effort to come within inches of stopping a runaway Dane Gagai. Already dangerous on the left edge, he was shifted to lock for the series finale where he would make another 23 tackles and score another try. It was clear after just two games that Frizell is an Origin star of the future.
A key to the successes of St George Illawarra, Frizell still needs to perform well in the opening rounds to secure a VB Blues call-up again in 2017. With the likes of Josh Jackson, Wade Graham and Boyd Cordner – alongside stars of the recent Kangaroos tour, Trent Merrin and Jake Trbojevic – all fighting for positions in the starting pack, competition for spots is healthy and nothing is assured. Based on his performances for both his state and country in 2016, however, we can only hope that Frizell comes anywhere close to his best again this year; when he does, he is near unstoppable.