Fittler names five debutants for Origin I
Wests Tigers forward Ryan Matterson has narrowly missed selection for New South Wales as Coach Brad Fittler named five debutants for the 2019 series opener next Wednesday.
Matterson, who had been linked with a potential Origin debut after a sublime start to the 2019 campaign for Wests Tigers, was overlooked as a utility for Raiders half Jack Wighton with incumbent Angus Crichton preferred as an edge forward.
The 2018 Premiership winner will instead join the squad as 18th Man, with the 24-year-old expected to join the New South Wales squad on Tuesday for training.
With an array of injuries in Round 11 that saw Luke Keary, Mitchell Pearce and Adam Reynolds all ruled out of contention, Penrith halfback Nathan Cleary has done enough to hold on to his number seven jersey, with arguably the form player of the competition — Cody Walker — named to debut alongside him in the halves.
Walker was one of five debutants named by Fittler for Game One of the Origin series at Suncorp Stadium next Wednesday, with Nick Cotric, Cameron Murray and Payne Haas joining Wighton and Walker as the fresh faces in the side.
Sharks centre Josh Morris last played Origin in 2016 but was recalled after playing strongly in Sunday's game against the Dragons in Wollongong — replacing James Roberts in the squad which lifted last year's shield for the Blues.
Breaking down the Blues team for Game I
NSW TEAM FOR ORIGIN I
1. James Tedesco (Sydney Roosters)
2. Nick Cotric (Canberra Raiders)
3. Latrell Mitchell (Sydney Roosters)
4. Josh Morris (Cronulla Sharks)
5. Josh Addo-Carr (Melbourne Storm)
6. Cody Walker (South Sydney Rabbitohs)
7. Nathan Cleary (Penrith Panthers)
8. David Klemmer (Newcastle Knights)
9. Damien Cook (South Sydney Rabbitohs)
10. Paul Vaughan (St. George-Illawarra Dragons)
11. Boyd Cordner, capt. (Sydney Roosters)
12. Tyson Frizell (St. George-Illawarra Dragons)
13. Jake Trbojevic (Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles)
14. Jack Wighton (Canberra Raiders)
15. Payne Haas (Brisbane Broncos)
16. Cameron Murray (South Sydney Rabbitohs)
17. Angus Crichton (Sydney Roosters)