STATE OF ORIGIN
Fittler's Awesome Foursome
They’re the Brydens Lawyers NSW Blues hopefuls ready to make their presence felt in the Origin arena next season.
Pin-pointed for selection in Brad Fittler’s would-be New South Wales team ahead of 2017’s Game One, the young guns earmarked on Channel Nine’s ‘The Sunday Footy Show’ remain well in the frame for an Origin berth, come the start of the 2018 series, according to the coach himself.
Four emerging talents – two outside backs, a front-rower and a utility player – are firmly on Fittler’s radar for 2018 and beyond.
Highlighted by Fittler – and the NSWRL – as a long-term Blues prospect, Tom Trbojevic narrowly missed an Origin debut in 2017, suffering an ankle injury in the lead-up to the series opener.
Despite having not yet earned an Origin call-up, Trbojevic is no stranger to the sky blue of his state having represented the NSW Under-18s side in the 2014 season.
Forced to watch on in 2017 in rounds 11 through 13 respectively, ‘Tommy Turbo’ stormed back into the Origin fray when Manly strung together three-straight wins upon the flyer’s return.
“He carries a really big reputation, it’d be good to see him get through a year without injury, some solid training under his belt will be really beneficial for him.”
A member of Laurie Daley’s extended Origin squad in 2017, a strong start to the new season will have the 21-year-old again in the Blues mix come May.
Josh Addo-Carr hit the ground running to start the 2017 season, arriving at the eventual-premiers from the Wests Tigers and striking a lethal combination with the Storm’s left edge.
Scoring tries at a phenomenal rate, ‘The Foxx’ ran in 23 four-pointers in Melbourne’s surge towards the NRL title – including two tries in the 34-6 grand-final win over the Cowboys.
In a break-out season, Addo-Carr earned representative selection in Brad Fittler’s KARI City Origin side in May and played a vital role in the side’s 20-10 win in Mudgee.
“You can tell that down there in Melbourne, he’s learning a lot,” Fittler says.
“He’s always a danger in their backline. He’s going to have a different 2018, though.
“Most wingers you talk about their partnership with their centres, the Storm [now without Cooper Cronk], he’s going to have to learn to play with different players.”
Tall, tough and unrelenting, new Cowboys recruit Jordan McClean earned a taste – of sorts – of Origin in 2017, enough to leave the Australian Kangaroos prop hungry for a New South Wales jersey next season.
Averaging 42 minutes per game in the NRL in 2017 playing for Melbourne, McLean’s involvement rate remained high in his time on the field.
McClean put together impressive numbers in the Kangaroos’ World Cup campaign – figures duly noted by the new Blues mentor.
“He’s probably the one that’s come along the most, he was very impressive in the World Cup,” Fittler says.
“He’s in a different system now having signed with the Cowboys, he’ll take on more of a leadership role in that pack.
“I’ll be really interested to see how his game develops next season.”
A member of Laurie Daley’s extended Origin squad, McClean travelled and trained with the Blues team throughout the side’s camps, readying the 26-year-old for the Origin arena in 2018.
The Panthers’ own ‘Mr. Fix-it’, Tyrone Peachey’s versatility holds him in high regard heading into the 2018 Origin series.
Earning the utility role on Fittler’s proposed bench, Peachey’s ability to play in the outside backs, out of dummy-half or in the back-row serves the 26-year-old well.
Peachey has been a feature in Fittler’s KARI City Origin team since 2015, playing at lock and in centres in the side’s 2015 and 2016 successes.
“I’ve always been a big fan of the Peach, I just think he’s a wonderful footy player,” Fittler says.
“He’s at a really important stage of his career now, he needs to go to the next level.”