Ex-NSW five-eighth Braith Anasta has anointed Daniel Tupou "the most underrated winger in the game" and is certain he'll thrive in his Blues second-coming.
Anasta was surprised by Brad Fittler's call not to pick incumbent Blake Ferguson, who finished the season injured, for the Ampol State of Origin series.
Anasta is nonetheless delighted about Tupou's recall five years after his last NSW match.
Tupou, the towering Roosters star, could come straight onto the right flank that Ferguson tip-toed down in game three of last year's series to set up James Tedesco's shield-retaining try.
Match: Blues v Maroons
Game 1 -
Venue: Adelaide Oval, Adelaide
The 29-year-old Tupou debuted for the Blues in 2014 - when they snapped Queensland's eight-year reign - but was dropped after one game in 2015. His rep appearances have been with Tonga in recent years.
"I think he's unlucky, Fergo. Although he didn't score many tries [four], I still think his run metres were up there and he was still like an extra forward for Parramatta coming out of their own end," Anasta told NRL.com while promoting Ampol's new sponsorship of State of Origin.
Ultimate player: Brandy selects the perfect halfback
"He was a part of the last two series. He's probably been a bit hard done by, Fergo. I think he probably deserved to be there.
"But with the luxury of selections, Tupou comes in and he'll do a job for sure. Tupou's definitely the most underrated winger but almost player in the game over the three, four, five seasons.
"The guy's a freak. He's got better with every season and he kind of goes underrated and a bit unheralded in that superstar Roosters side.
"He'll do a great job."
Joey's greatest ever NSW team
Ferguson may be out, but a few of his Eels teammates are in line for their Origin debuts after being included in the 27-man squad.
Anasta believes prop Junior Paulo and fullback Clint Gutherson, who can play anywhere in the backline, are likely to feature.
"I think Paulo will get a start. He had a great year and I think there's probably some room in the front-row for a big body who's got a lot of skill and footwork and speed - he's kind of got it all," Anasta said.
"He can really cause some headaches for Queensland. I think he's probably the most similar player to [Josh] Papalii we've got.
"I think Gutho could get a start possibly as a centre. With Turbo [Tom Trbojevic] out, the halves being so solid and Teddy [Tedesco] obviously going to be fullback, so you could put Gutherson in the centres there with Wighton."
Anasta knows what it takes to achieve Origin success as a playmaker having played in the halves with Andrew Johns in the 2005 triumph.
Gutherson excited to return to Blues camp
Luke Keary and Cody Walker have been jostling for the five-eighth role that once was Anasta's - and he would select the former.
"I just think that they could very well complement each other, Keary and [Nathan] Cleary. My reasoning for that is Keary's been performing at an optimum for a number of years," he sad.
"He's very consistent, you know what you're going to get. Yes, Walker had an amazing year and may have outdone Keary in a way in terms of clubland and I'd be happy if they put Walker there - he's an incredible player, I love him.
"But I just lean towards Keary."