Blues players are unanimously disappointed that Sharks back-rower Wade Graham has been denied an Origin debut by a grade one careless high tackle charge but centre Michael Jennings has praised the man brought into the squad to replace him in Dragons forward Tyson Frizell.
Graham was unable to beat the charge arising from an awkward tackle on Cowboys playmaker Johnathan Thurston at the judiciary on Wednesday night. Loading and carry-overs from a separate incident last year pushed him just over the 100-point threshold meaning he misses one game – cruelly, it lines up with what was to be his Origin debut next Wednesday night.
Regular NSW 18th man Tyson Frizell has been called up and Jennings – speaking from Blues camp in Coffs Harbour before Graham's judiciary hearing – said if Frizell got his chance he wouldn't let anyone down.
"Frizzo has also been playing some really good footy so it would be no different," Jennings said.
"Friz is a really tough to get a hold on. You know he's going to get through the line.
"Just pushing outside of him letting him do his work... if we miss out on Wado we're not missing too much with Friz coming in."
Left-centre Jennings is set to be, along with left-side playmaker James Maloney, the player most impacted by the loss of left edge forward Graham.
However Jennings tipped Frizell to bring a similar impact to what Jennings enjoys at club level alongside Eels left-edge forward Manu Ma'u with his destructive left-edge hole-running and offloading ability.
"Me and Jimmy, we have our Roosters experience as an advantage so in that situation you do need a bit of leadership. So I'll be helping out Friz and Jimmy will be doing the same," Jennings said.
"At Parra with Manu, he's so good at hitting the line and offloading. That's the same plus with having Wade or Friz there because of their ball-playing skills.
"After contact they can get rid of the ball so that's a plus for me where I can get some more ball. I'm looking forward to getting those combinations going."
Jennings said Frizell can be one of the hardest forwards in the NRL to bring down as an edge defender.
"He really is. For a centre defending on a backrower like him, trying a hit on him is like hitting a brick wall. He's just really, really strong."