Roosters left edge to power Blues
The addition of Boyd Cordner to the Blues bench along with the starting centre/wing pairing of Roosters teammates Michael Jennings and Daniel Tupou brings a scintillating club combination that all three men say they are happy to try and capitalise on in the Origin arena.
Roosters halfback Mitchell Pearce is predominantly a right-side player at club level, although he has landed plenty of bombs in Tupou's giant hands for Roosters tries over the past couple of seasons, adding another potential dimension to the NSW attack ahead of what is expected to be an attritional opening match on Wednesday night.
The Roosters left edge has hit form of late, with Tupou bagging a hat-trick a fortnight ago against Wests Tigers, and the trio has now amassed an impressive tally in season 2015.
Each has played all 10 games, combining for 16 tries (Tupou 8, Jennings and Cordner 4 apiece) and 11 line breaks (Tupou 7, Jennings 3, Cordner 1). Highlighting the combination Jennings and Tupou have developed, Jennings has four try assists and five line-break assists.
In Blues camp after the squad's second field session, Jennings said the combination would be an advantage come Wednesday night.
"We all know each other's game but more importantly we know we all connect so that's another positive," Jennings said.
"Me and Toops [Tupou] know how each other plays, we know each other's game which is good. Nothing's going to change with how me and him play. Working with Hokko [halfback Trent Hodkinson] in the halves the plays are going to change but the connection between me and Toops won't change."
Cordner also welcomed the chance to combine with his clubmates at Origin level when he is introduced off the Blues bench in Game I.
"I love Toops, he's on my edge there, he's been there since Robbo first came to the club and we won the comp... He's been in outstanding form the last month."
Tupou told NRL.com he was just happy and honoured to be part of the group again after what he described as a "pretty shaky" first few rounds in terms of his own form, although he feels he has since found his form.
"I didn't prepare as well as I could last year but this year I'll be a lot more strict with myself and knuckling down and getting serious at training," Tupou said.
"Then when off the pitch, just like Loz [coach Laurie Daley] has said, just don't think about it much, relax and keep calm then when it's time to train again switch it."
Tupou said the combination with his close mate Jennings helps boost his confidence coming into camp.
"I feel safe outside him but I've got to do my part just to look out for each other, especially on our left edge, it will be good to play with him again in State of Origin," he said.
"That talent and hard work he does off the ball and with the ball it makes it easier for my decisions. He does play a massive part and also he's a NSW Origin legend."
Tupou also welcomed an Origin return for Cordner who, despite technically being an incumbent after playing in the dead rubber Game 3 win last year, missed the two successful opening games through injury.
"I'm happy he got the call up again and happy to be playing alongside him," Tupou said.
"He'll definitely make a big impact when he comes off the bench and we'll definitely feel comfortable on that left edge when he comes in, we'll just play like we normally play for the Roosters. He's a tough character, he's a massive player for us at the Roosters and I know he'll do the same for the Blues on Wednesday."