Likely Origin squad revealed: Star Panther snubbed
NSW players - headlined by Boyd Cordner, Reagan Campbell-Gillard and Clint Gutherson - will join the rest of the Blues squad and enter another four and a half week strict biosecurity bubble on Monday ahead of the Origin series.
Joining the trio will be hopeful debutant Cameron McInnes with the St George Illawarra skipper putting aside a tumultuous club season to be part of the Blues' extended squad. McInnes said his call-up was a "pretty amazing feeling".
"It's been a tough couple of years at the Dragons," McInnes said. "I was disappointed we didn't make the finals. I'm very fortunate to be given an opportunity in the NSW squad and perhaps playing."
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McInnes has been on the cusp of Origin selection for the past three years.
He is expected to serve as the back-up hooker to incumbent Damien Cook with Api Koroisau battling to get picked in the 27 man squad.
The trio were locked in a battle for the Origin hooking spot leading up to the 2018 series before Cook received the call-up.
"2018 was the year my name got mentioned the most," McInnes said. "Whether or not I was close or not I don't know. I wouldn't have said I got my hopes up but I've learnt it doesn't matter what's said, you have to play well.
"The last couple of years - it's not that Origin has not been a goal - but I have not thought about it too much because if you start thinking about it you're going to let your team down.
"I wouldn't call it a reward, I'm not a big believer that all the hardwork you put in should be rewarded. You should be putting that effort in every week and not need a carrot of NSW selection or a personal accolade to give your all."
The squad will meet at the Blues' Sydney Olympic Park headquarters on Monday before heading to camp at the Pullman Magenta Shores Resort on the Central Coast. Origin I is in Adelaide on November 4.
McInnes' utility value will see him push for a bench spot after making the transition into the backrow at times for the Dragons this year.
"I've heard a few people say I was reluctant to play lock," McInnes. "That's not right, I grew up playing a fair bit of lock. I don't consider myself a hooker, I consider myself a footy player.
"The way I play is more defence orientated. I'm confident in doing a job in either position. I thoroughly enjoy playing hooker but knowing I can play both at a decent level has been good."
Canberra duo Jack Wighton and Nick Cotric will be added to the extended squad on Sunday and join the team this week. James Tedesco won't join the squad until later in the week to receive treatment on his knee. McInnes, Gutherson, Luke Keary, Nathan Brown, Zac Lomax and Junior Paulo are among the uncapped players in the squad.
HOW WE BROKE THE NEWS, via Phil Rothfield
The NSW Blues have added five players from beaten finalists the Canberra Raiders and the South Sydney Rabbitohs.
After South Sydney's Saturday night loss to the Panthers, coach Brad Fittler and his senior advisor Greg Alexander chose Cameron Murray, Damien Cook and Cody Walker.
They will also check the fitness of centre Campbell Graham, who is considered unlikely because of the groin injury that kept him out of the qualifying final.
From the Canberra Raiders, five-eighth/centre Jack Wighton and winger Nick Cotric have been added to the squad.
NSW STATE OF ORIGIN SQUAD:
Nathan Brown (Parramatta Eels)
Reagan Campbell-Gillard (Parramatta Eels)
Boyd Cordner (Sydney Roosters)
Damien Cook (Rabbitohs)
Nick Cotric (Raiders)
Angus Crichton (Sydney Roosters)
Tyson Frizell (St George Illawarra Dragons)
Clint Gutherson (Parramatta Eels)
Payne Haas (Brisbane Broncos)
Luke Keary (Sydney Roosters)
Zac Lomax (St George Illawarra Dragons)
Cameron McInnes (St George Illawarra Dragons)
Junior Paulo (Parramatta Eels)
Daniel Saifiti (Newcastle Knights)
James Tedesco (Sydney Roosters)
Jake Trbojevic (Manly Warringah Sea Eagles)
Daniel Tupou (Sydney Roosters)
Jack Wighton (Raiders)
Cameron Murray (Rabbitohs)
Cody Walker (Rabbitohs)
CONTENDERS FROM GRAND FINAL SIDES
* Note: Seven spots left in squad
* Campbell Graham unlikely due to groin injury
READ MORE ORIGIN:
Originally published as Likely Origin squad revealed: Star Panther snubbed