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Brydens Lawyers NSW Blues coach Brad Fittler has indicated he is likely to pick debutants to fill the centre positions for the Ampol State of Origin series after Tom Trbojevic became the latest star player to be ruled out through injury.

Trbojevic will seek medical advice this week in a last-ditch attempt to end season-ending surgery after he dislocated his shoulder during Manly Warringah Sea Eagles’ 22-20 loss to the Parramatta Eels on Friday night.

He joins a worrying casualty ward for Fittler that includes Latrell Mitchell (hamstring) and Cameron Murray (shoulder), while NSW hopefuls Ryan Papenhuyzen (hamstring, knee), Victor Radley (ankle) and Bradman Best (elbow) are also sidelined.

Fittler has plenty of options at centre including Stephen Crichton, Campbell Graham, Kotoni Staggs, Siosifa Talakai, Matt Burton and Zac Lomax, while Clint Gutherson and Jack Wighton played there in 2020.

Fittler praised Crichton and Staggs when asked about them specifically on the Nine network, but admitted any player who got the call-up would face a significant challenge.

“Well, there’s a week to go, they’re both in good form and the thing is, it’s a very important position,” Fittler said.

“If you think of some of the Queensland centres; Dane Gagai, Val Holmes. Between them they’ve played 29 Origins so there’s a good chance whoever we do pick there might be on debut, as well.

“So, it’s a big job ahead of them whoever plays centre.”

Behind Blue Eyes | Round 11

After Trbojevic dislocated his shoulder in Manly’s Round 11 loss to Parramatta Eels, it was revealed the 2021 Dally M Medallist is likely to miss the remainder of the 2022 season, with the club sending him for scans this week.

Trbojevic’s absence out in the middle will be missed for the Blues after he scored four tries across three games last year as well as producing a try assist, three linebreaks, 13 tackle busts and running for 187 metres per game.

While Trbojevic formed a lethal centre combination with Mitchell, it was his ability to roam the field and attack both edges and through the middle that went a long way to securing the Blues a historic series win.

A series without Trbojevic is nothing new for NSW, after the Sea Eagles fullback missed the 2020 series through injury, but Fittler said it had tossed up another challenge for the Blues coaching staff.

“We had this certain style going when he was playing where he just popped up everywhere and was really effective for us,” Fittler said.

“I don’t think there’s anyone else that can play that (role), so our game will change, which I’m looking forward to.

“From a coaching point of view, we’re going to have to play a bit different, which will really test the coaching staff.”

Who do you think Freddy should pick at centre? Click here to have your say.

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