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Renouf: Keary, Latrell, Haas deserve Blues selection

The Blues side that plays in November should include a long-awaited State of Origin debut for Luke Keary and recalls for Latrell Mitchell and Payne Haas.

It is incredible that Keary has won three premierships and represented  Australia but is yet to play in the Origin arena.

There are a couple of reasons for that. One is that he was born in Ipswich and grew up playing his junior football there with Allan Langer as his idol.

Initially, he wanted to play for Queensland but the new Origin rules mean that he is a NSW-qualified player based on his senior football history.

Last year he was injured but his form just can't be denied. I noticed in the NRL Player’s Poll that he received 43 per cent of the vote as the best five-eighth in the game.

He has proven time and again in the big games that he is the ultimate match-winner and his combination with Roosters teammates James Tedesco, Boyd Cordner and Mitchell means he will be right at home in the Blues side.

Latrell deserves a recall. I know he is playing fullback for Souths but I still think he is best suited as a centre and that is a scary thought.

If they are smart about the way they play him, like they were when he played for NSW before, then no-one is going to stop him 10 metres out. I'd hate to be marking him.

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What has impressed this year about Latrell is how selfless he is. He creates opportunities for teammates. He broke open last year's grand final with a slick pass and that is what he will do at centre.

Keary was so good for him at the Roosters and knew when to feed him the ball so it makes sense for NSW to have them together again.

Tom Trbojevic can play anywhere in the outside backs so I've got him on the wing with Josh Addo-Carr. Jack Wighton is the other centre. He has shown he is dominant in the Origin area and is a big body. He is intimidating. James Tedesco picks himself at fullback.

Nathan Cleary missed last year's Origin decider but I rate him as the dominant halfback in the game. He is winning games for Penrith and what I like about him is how he manages the final stages of close matches.

He knows how to get his team over the line and his general kicking and goal kicking are a huge asset.

Haas played in the first Origin last year and missed the next two but he was the Dally M prop of the year in 2019 and when you look at the stats he is still a dominant force.

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Even in a Broncos team that isn't playing well he is still a standout. He is one of those players who you know will play his whole career for NSW and Australia so he is a worthy front-row partner for David Klemmer.

I think Haas's club coach Anthony Seibold has done him a favour over the past month by playing him for 60 minutes instead a full game. That will keep him fresh and come Origin time he will be ready to go.

Boyd Cordner, as the captain and one starting second-rower, is another name you write down without thinking twice. I like what I've seen lately from Tyson Frizell at the Dragons and he has proven himself to be so hard to handle on the other edge

Jake Trbojevic is a fantastic ball-playing lock and will be one of the first picked so with Victor Radley out injured I have gone for Cameron Murray on the bench to come on and play that utility role.

He is a danger in the middle or on the edge and he has that quick play the ball which is such a bonus in Origin football.  

Blues winger Josh Addo-Carr.
Blues winger Josh Addo-Carr. ©Nathan Hopkins/NRL Photos

Wade Graham has to be on the bench because he is such a versatile and smart player. He can come on and change the rhythm of the game with a pass, a run or even a kick.

Paul Vaughan needs to keep playing like he did against Manly last week and he will retain his spot on the bench. He is a giant of a man and so mobile.

You need a workhorse player like Dale Finucane on the bench who is tough and just does his job. He's out of that Storm system so he does everything right and he will do whatever coach Brad Fittler asks him too. If there is an early injury you know Finucane can play a whole game if he has to.

The Blues have so much depth in a variety of positions. In the centres if someone gets injured they have Jimmy Roberts to call up. I'd love to get him in there and he may yet force his way in if he can continue the form he showed last week against the Tigers for Souths.

All in all this a very good NSW team. I'm sure Freddy Fittler enjoys coaching them.

 

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