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Blues, Josh Addo-Carr, Jake Trbojevic axed by Brad Fittler


New South Wales coach Brad Fittler has made a number of huge selection calls in naming a new-look Blues squad for the State of Origin opener.

Fittler’s squad features six players who are yet to make their Origin debuts – Stephen Crichton, Nicho Hynes, Ryan Matterson, Jacob Saifiti, Joseph Suaalii and Kotoni Staggs, with two mainstays from previous Blues campaigns, Josh Addo-Carr and Jake Trbojevic, left out.

Seven of the 22 players selected are from the reigning premiers Penrith, while Roosters star James Tedesco will captain the side for a second straight year.

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One of Fittler’s big calls was opting for Roosters winger Daniel Tupou over Addo-Carr, and he explained the thought process behind the 30-year-old’s shock recall.

“Well I’m surprised that people would be surprised,” he told 9News Sydney.

“(Tupou’s) pretty much been the best winger for a number of years. He’s always on my radar.

“I’ve coached (Tupou) in the City team and State of Origin previously, and I’ve always loved him being part of my teams.”

With Latrell Mitchell and Tom Trbojevic absent through injury, Fittler’s line-up will feature a rookie pairing in the centres with Crichton partnering Staggs.

“It’s a pretty tricky position. Defensively it’s crucial,” Fittler said of the centres.

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“Our centres will have a big job and have to come up with some big decisions, but at the end of the day it’s about the team and I don’t think one position will cost you.”

The 2022 State of Origin series will get underway on June 8, with game one to take place at Accor Stadium in Sydney.

FULL NEW SOUTH WALES GAME ONE SQUAD

Reagan Campbell-Gillard (Parramatta Eels), Nathan Cleary (Penrith Panthers), Damien Cook (South Sydney Rabbitohs), Stephen Crichton (Penrith Panthers), Tyson Frizell (Newcastle Knights), Payne Haas (Brisbane Broncos), Nicho Hynes (Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks), Apisai Koroisau (Penrith Panthers), Jarome Luai (Penrith Panthers), Junior Paulo (Parramatta Eels), Liam Martin (Penrith Panthers), Ryan Matterson (Parramatta Eels), Cameron Murray (South Sydney Rabbitohs), Jacob Saifiti (Newcastle Knights), Tariq Sims (St George Illawarra Dragons), Kotoni Staggs (Brisbane Broncos), Joseph Suaalii (Sydney Roosters), James Tedesco (c) (Sydney Roosters), Brian To’o (Penrith Panthers), Daniel Tupou (Sydney Roosters), Jack Wighton (Canberra Raiders), Isaah Yeo (Penrith Panthers)

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