CM – Shock Origin Bolter responds to NSW SOS


South Sydney striker Keaon Koloamatangi has been added to the expanded NSW Blues roster for the State of Origin kick-off next week in Townsville.

Koloamatangi, 23, who has traversed the NSW trail system, stepped on Join the Blues squad in Coogee on Tuesday night.

The Rabbitohs have the goodbye this week so the versatile Koloamatangi can join the squad as a shadow player without missing any NRL action.

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Koloamatangi was a powerhouse for South Sydney this year and managed a massive 163 linear meters against the eels and 38 tackles in lap 12.

With the frame for the front row and the Engine for the second row, Koloamatangi provides valuable cover for players like Payne Haas (knee) and a somewhat understated Cameron Murray, who only played 48 minutes for the Rabbitohs in Round 12 when he returned from a tournament injury break.

NSW- Trainer Brad Fittler says Jack Wighton’s versatility led him to choose the 2020 Dally M winner on the bench instead of fifth place eight for this year’s Origin opener.

On Sunday evening, Fittler announced that Panthers- Star Jarome Luai would make his Origin debut at six in Game I, ousting Wighton from start 13.

However, Fittler acknowledges that both Wighton and Luai have a role in recapturing the Origin Shield.

« I think when Jack starts it’ll be a bit difficult to get Jarome into play » Fittler told NRL 360 on Monday night.

« I think we’ve seen a lot of people get injured this year and there are head injuries and all sorts of things, so I think Jack Wighton on the bench gives us the opportunity There are plenty of them to cover. « 

In his NRL career, Wighton has started in every backline position, making 35 club-level appearances as an underdog behind Luai.

Additionally, Fittler is hoping Luai’s start in the halves allows the Blues to capitalize on the 24-year-old’s synergy with reigning halfack Nathan Cleary.

Luai and Cleary have a staggering 79 percent win rate when the Panthers halves combination and both play their game in Penriths perfect start to 2021 to new heights.

Panther’s co-captain Isaah Yeo will also be on Fittler’s side for Game I, while mountain colleagues Brian To’o and Liam Martin made their Origin debut on June 9th.

Penrith-Hooker Apisai Koroisau joins them as the 18th man on the team for the series kick-off at the Blues Camp.

On Monday afternoon, the NRL confirmed that Game I had been transferred from the MCG to the MCG during the Covid-19 outbreak in Victoria Queensland Country Bank Stadium would be relocated from Townsville.

While the move caused a stir among blues believers, Fittler dismissed suggestions that the move would put his side at a disadvantage at the last minute.

« I think so just a bigger challenge. Queensland has never played on this ground either, but no doubt there will be more maroon jerseys in the crowd than New South Wales, « said the two-time Premiership player.

 » It is what it is, it is a soccer field and I think if we win what we will win it will be a little sweeter. « 

Fittler had a taste of the sweetness of Origin on Monday with the news that his contract as a blues coach would go into the next season « Freddy » called the re-signing « a huge boost to this year’s series » as the Blues hope to make up for their shock loss in the 2020s postseason triptych.


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