New South Wales have been dealt big injury blows just under a month out from Origin I, but there is no shortage for replacements, says The Sydney Morning Herald’s Andrew Webster.
Latrell Mitchell has already been ruled out with South Sydney captain Cameron Murray and Melbourne Storm star Ryan Papenhuyzen now in serious doubt after suffering injuries over the weekend.
Webster said that whilst losing Murray is a big blow for NSW, the difficulty lies in finding a replacement for Papenhuyzen.
“Cameron Murray is a big loss given how much he does on both sides of the football,” Webster said on 1170 SEN.
“He did so much defence in that series win last year and was critical to their success.
“But NSW are pretty flush for backrowers. Papenhuyzen is the interesting one.
“It’ll come down to (Jack) Wighton who has experience … or (Nicho) Hynes who is in unbelievable form.
“I think (Wighton) has been good in a struggling Canberra side that’s decimated by injuries.
“Nicho Hynes’ form has been irresistible so I’m glad I’m not making the decisions.”
NSW coach Brad Fittler has been known to show player loyalty which was made evident by naming James Tedesco as starting fullback over the in-form Papenhuyzen prior to his injury.
Webster believes Fittler will make the correct decisions when it comes to selections and will not be persuaded by media pressures.
“The thing I like about Brad Fittler as a coach and when he coaches best is when he is not listening to all the voices around him,” he said.
“He is throwing caution to the wind when it comes to selections.
“I wouldn’t be surprised if he used the form of those two players in the next two or three weeks to determine who gets the number 14 position.”
Game I of State of Origin will take place in Sydney on June 8.