Josh Addo-Carr hadn't played on the right wing since his 2016 NRL debut for the Wests Tigers against the Storm when he walked onto the Adelaide Oval on Wednesday – but you wouldn't have known it.
Playing on the unfamiliar edge for the first time in four years, Addo-Carr was in the conversation for his team's best in the 18-14 loss, scoring two tries, nearly scoring a third and coming up with some huge defensive plays at crucial times.
Blues coach Brad Fittler's decision to move Addo-Carr meant he formed a new combination with Eels skipper Clint Gutherson, who lined up at right centre.
While Gutherson is a fullback at Parramatta, he played some centre in 2015 at Manly as well as in 2016, 2017 and 2018 at the Eels.
While he missed a tackle on Kurt Capewell that led to a try, his defensive combination with Addo-Carr, Nathan Cleary and Tyson Frizell was otherwise solid.
Blues look to ‘flush’ loss with quick turnaround
Gutherson's 32 tackles almost matched the 33 made by the rest of the back five combined, with just two misses.
The selections of non-regular centres Gutherson and Jack Wighton have been criticised after each leaked a try but Addo-Carr wasn't buying into it.
"Freddie picks the best players in the competition. It was a disappointing night, I hope those boys will learn from it," he said.
Match: Blues v Maroons
Game 2 -
Venue: ANZ Stadium, Sydney
"That's just the type of players they are, they're competitors and that's why they're in the side. They know their strengths, we know their strengths and they're really excited to put the Blues jersey on again next week.
"I felt really comfortable defending with him, playing with him, I felt sweet with him, I thought he did a really good job."
Addo-Carr said he had been told as soon as he got into camp that he would be asked to switch sides to accommodate the Origin return of the Roosters' left-side winger Daniel Tupou.
Asked when he last played on the right, Addo-Carr said "when I debuted against the Storm for the Tigers.
"Freddie told me as soon as I came into camp and I said 'whatever is best for the team'.
"I've got good players inside me that can defend really well so it makes my job a lot easier. I did what I had to do."
It was a big call to move an in-form incumbent but Tupou's left-side combination with Roosters teammates Boyd Cordner and debutant five-eighth Luke Keary was a factor.
Keary and Cordner won't be in action in game two after the five-eighth was dropped and the skipper ruled out for the rest of the series, with Cody Walker and Angus Crichton coming into the side.
Fittler encouraged by Blues learning ‘huge lesson’
"I'd like to think so [that was the reason]," Addo-Carr added.
"Freddie thought it would be a better fit for me and the side and I was happy to do it for the side. It was just a really disappointing night. There's a few things we need to fix and I can't wait to start training again."
The performance means Addo-Carr has four tries from his only two top-flight games on the right, after bagging a double on debut in round seven of 2016.
The top tackles from Origin I
Addo-Carr was readying himself for the challenge of playing four huge games in as many weeks after the high of a grand final win heading into a shortened Ampol State of Origin series.
"It's not the normal. You just have to overcome and adapt, that's what everyone's done this year, everyone's had to overcome and adapt and it's had its challenges but we're athletes, we have to deal with it," Addo-Carr said.
"Origin's a mental game. It's like playing four grand finals. Myself; Dale [Finucane], [Ryan] Papenhuyzen, the Panthers boys, it's like playing three extra grand finals, it's extremely tough."
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