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Utoikamanu added to NSW Origin squad

Wests Tigers prop Stefano Utoikamanu has been named 19th man for the NSW Blues ahead of Game I of this year’s Ampol State of Origin series.

Utoikamanu has been added to the original squad, which was named on Monday morning, joining Wests Tigers teammate Api Koroisau.

Like Koroisau, Utoikamanu has also shown strong form through the opening 12 rounds of the NRL season.

“It’s been a dream of mine for a long time to pull on a Blues Origin jersey, so being selected in the squad feels amazing,” said Utoikamanu.

“I think our performance as a team over the last few weeks has certainly helped me get to this point.

I’m really happy for Api too because he’s been such a great leader for us in his first season at Wests Tigers.

Stefano Utoikamanu

NSW selection is familiar territory for Utoikamanu. The 23-year-old was part of the Emerging Blues squad in 2021 and later that year named on an extended bench for Origin three.

Utoikamanu playing for NSW U/18s in 2018
Utoikamanu playing for NSW U/18s in 2018

Tim Sheens is delighted for both of his Blues representatives.

“Api and Stefano have been consistently good for us through the first 12 rounds of the season,” said Sheens.

“They both thoroughly deserve to be in the NSW squad.

“I speak on behalf of their teammates in wishing them all the very best in this year’s series.”

The opening game of the 2023 Ampol State of Origin series is being played at Adelaide Oval on Wednesday 31 May.

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Wests Tigers respect and honour 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.

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