NSW Origin team selections: Cleary in, debutants galore

Penrith halfback Nathan Cleary has done enough to hold on to his NSW State of Origin jersey, set to be retained in Brad Fittler’s game one team which will be announced on Sunday night.

NRL.com understands Brisbane's Payne Haas, South Sydney's Cameron Murray and Cody Walker, and Canberra duo Jack Wighton and Nick Cotric will all be included in the Blues squad named on Sunday night.

The NSW Rugby League has not yet officially announced its team and will do so after the Dragons and Sharks clash at WIN Stadium on Sunday.

Cleary's club halves partner, James Maloney, is set to be overlooked despite playing a leading role in the Blues’ series victory last year.

It is understood Walker has won the race to the No.6 jersey vacated by Maloney’s omission after Luke Keary was deemed unavailable due to two concussions in recent weeks.

Cronulla’s Josh Morris last played Origin in 2016 and is in line for a recall but still has to get through today’s game against St George Illawarra in Wollongong to be called in as James Roberts's replacement.

It is understood former Blues wingers Blake Ferguson and Daniel Tupou have been overlooked for a wing berth, leaving the right flanker's gig to Cotric. He could be switched to the centres with Tupou on the wing if Morris is injured.

Angus Crichton is likely to get the nod for a bench forward's ahead of Wests Tigers back-rower Ryan Matterson and Dragons star Tariq Sims.

It is understood Murray will make his Origin debut, likely from the bench, while another representative rookie, Wighton, is believed to have been chosen as the bench utility.

Fittler, speaking on Sunday morning on The Footy Show, did not confirm any selections but said Walker had done everything right to put himself in contention for his first Origin jersey.

"He's not only had a great year this year, he's been good for a while," he said.

"He's been very consistent with them [Souths]. You see the players react to him, around him, when he gets the ball, they all move because they know something's going to happen.

"Having someone like that with such great instincts, around a team that holding the ball and they're getting good field position, so they're getting the other teams a bit tired - he's a weapon.

"And his kicking game when Adam Reynolds went off was fantastic. He got them home."

South Sydney’s Adam Reynolds has been cleared of a broken foot, but Fittler is poised to remain loyal to Cleary.

Knights halfback Mitchell Pearce is unavailable after picking up a groin injury in the win against the Roosters on Friday night.

The Blues will begin gathering in Bondi for camp on Sunday afternoon.

James Tedesco, Josh Addo-Carr, Latrell Mitchell, David Klemmer, Boyd Cordner, Damien Cook and Jake Trbojevic are considered certainties.

Likely NSW team for Origin I

1. James Tedesco

2. Josh Addo-Carr

3. Latrell Mitchell

4. Josh Morris/Nick Cotric

5. Nick Cotric/Daniel Tupou

6. Cody Walker

7. Nathan Cleary

8. David Klemmer

9. Damien Cook

10. Paul Vaughan

11. Boyd Cordner

12. Tyson Frizell

13. Jake Trbojevic

Interchange:

14. Jack Wighton

15. Payne Haas

16. Angus Crichton

17. Cameron Murray

The views in this article do not necessarily express the opinions of the NRL, ARLC, NRL clubs or state associations.