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Lewis reveals solution to NSW centre debate

True Blue Luke Lewis believes there is room for both Kotoni Staggs and Siosifa Talakai in the Brydens Lawyers NSW Blues side for the opening Ampol State of Origin game at Accor Stadium on 8 June.

Lewis told Behind Blues Eyes this week that both rampaging centres in the one Origin team would be an invaluable asset for NSW aiming to win back-to-back series.

“The match-up was awesome with both these guys putting their hand up for that centre position,” Lewis said of Staggs’ Broncos 16-7 win over Talakai’s Sharks last week.

“Staggs got one over him… I can see Kotoni out there with a No.3 or No.4 jersey on him and Talakai coming off the (Blues) bench,” Lewis said.

“One thing I love about Talakai is he’s just brutal all over the park.

“You can play him up front, you could play him at lock, if you need to, or in the back-row, or again in the centres and he would not look out of position.

“He’s got great skills and the other thing is he goes looking for work. He doesn’t just wait for the ball to come to him.

“Definitely the No.14 jersey for Talakai would be spot on for him.”

While Staggs has three tries, 43 tackle busts and six line-breaks from nine games this season, Talakai has five tries from as many games and 48 tackle busts. He also averages 167 metres per game.

The role of the bench utility in the NSW Blues side might be the most contentious.

Alongside Talakai, coach Brad Fittler can call on Ryan Papenhuyzen (Storm), Nicho Hynes (Sharks) or the No.14 incumbent Jack Wighton (Raiders).

Acknowledgement of Country

New South Wales Rugby League respects and honours the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.