State of Origin 2022: NSW Blues, Josh Addo-Carr, Daniel Tupou, Brad Fittler, selection, team, Darren Lockyer

Queensland selector Darren Lockyer has shifted his eyes to the New South Wales team list and raised a brow, joining the chorus of pundits bemused at Josh Addo-Carr‘s dumping.

Blues coach Brad Fittler axed tireless forwards Jack Trbojevic and Angus Crichton for next Wednesday night’s State of Origin opener, but it was his recall of Daniel Tupou at the expense of Addo-Carr that caused the greatest shock.

Roosters winger Tupou will match up against Broncos whiz-kid Selwyn Cobbo, who’s in line for his Origin debut, as Panthers pocket rocket Brian To’o stares down Storm flyer Xavier Coates.

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Lockyer struggled to understand Fittler‘s cutting of Addo-Carr when the selection surprise was raised on Wide World of Sports’ QLDER, before remarking that the NSW mentor must have spotted “a risk”.

“It did surprise me. Freddy wanted to be loyal. Teams that are in form – it means the individuals in that team have some good habits going into that game, if they’re out of form then that means a lot of the individuals in that team have got some bad habits. Maybe that’s where Freddy’s looking,” Lockyer said.

“They talk about the height difference, but what about To’o on Coates? So I don’t think it’s so much about that.”

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Lockyer thinks Addo-Carr’s work without the ball may have factored in his omission.

“It’s probably just having more confidence in Tupou with some of the things around defence,” Lockyer said.

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Addo-Carr made two poor defensive reads in the Bulldogs‘ defeat to the Dragons in Belmore on Sunday afternoon, only several hours before the announcement of the Blues’ 22-man squad.

But Addo-Carr rarely makes defensive misreads and there’s no doubting the attacking prowess of the 26-year-old, who in 2022 has tallied six tries from 11 games for a side that struggles to score points in the Bulldogs.

Addo-Carr had many more opportunities to cross for tries in his five years with Melbourne, for whom he bagged 23 four-pointers in 2021.

“Go-forward is a big part of any team’s game plan coming out of the back end, but Josh Addo-Carr’s got a good hit-up in him,” Lockyer said.

“Anyway, we’re not NSW, we’re not Brad Fittler.

“He’s obviously seen something that’s a bit of a risk to him.”

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