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Blues assistant predicts Moses to be named halfback, Luai and Hynes to battle for six


NSW Blues assistant John Cartwright has given his thoughts on the wide-open battle for his side’s halves partnership ahead of the 2024 State of Origin Series opener in three week’s time.

With incumbent halfback Nathan Cleary ruled out for the entire series and last year’s five-eighth Cody Walker struggling for form, it’s almost a guarantee that the Blues will field a new halves pairing in 2024.

A four-way battle has emerged for the two vacant positions, with Nicho Hynes, Jarome Luai, Mitchell Moses and Matt Burton all seen as the most likely candidates.

Reports in recent days have emerged suggesting that despite a lengthy stint on the sideline, Moses has one hand on the No.7 jersey, leaving the final contenders to battle it out for the five-eighth slot.

However, despite Burton’s strong form, Cartwright conceded that the three remaining players will seemingly make up the halves pairing for Game I.

“It looks that way,” Cartwright told SENQ Breakfast.

“Moses, I don’t know if he’s back this week… I know if he doesn’t this week he’ll definitely play the following week, I think he’s just got to get through the game.

“He did a good job for them last year in the final game.

“Then I suppose it comes down to Jarome Luai or Nicho Hynes to partner him there.”

Cartwright couldn’t pick between Luai and Hynes but with the 2022 Dally M Medallist currently recovering from a calf strain, the six jersey may return to the Panthers’ star.

“Hynes has been in great form all year, Jarome’s sort of starting to get somewhere near his best,” Cartwright added.

“It probably would’ve been an advantage for him (Luai) if Nathan (Cleary) was available to keep that sort of combination together.

“I dare say it’ll come down to two of those three.

“Who even knows, they used Nicho on the bench last year, I’m not real sure, it’s very hard to sort of even pigeonhole anyone at the moment, they’re all dropping like flies at the moment."

The 2024 Origin series kicks off at Accor Stadium in Sydney as the Blues host the Maroons on Wednesday, June 5th.

Listen to the full chat below.

State of Origin

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