AJ Brimson in massive State of Origin development as Kevin Walters makes call on Selwyn Cobbo

Billy Slater is reportedly considering Brimson as a utility option for Game 3.

Queensland utility AJ Brimson is set to make his return from injury this weekend and is reportedly in the running for a shock Maroons call-up if he puts together a positive performance. Brimson is expected to take the spot of the injured Jayden Campbell at five-eighth for the Titans clash against the Sharks in Coffs Harbour.

Brimson has been sidelined since he picked up a groin injury in Round 10 but is expected to return this weekend in what is the final chance for Origin hopefuls to impress their respective coaches. After a 38-18 thrashing in Game 2, Maroons coach Billy Slater is mulling over a host of team changes, one being bringing Brimson into the team to play as a utility off the bench.

Pictured left AJ Brimson and right Selwyn Cobbo
Billy Slater is reportedly considering AJ Brimson as a utility option for Game 3, while Kevin Walters insists Selwyn Cobbo is ready to return to the Origin arena. Image: Getty

The Titans flyer has played four Origin games including Game 3 last year and has always performed admirably at representative level. Slater could use Brimson in a similar role to that of Brisbane's Selwyn Cobbo in the 38-10 Game 1 win.

Brimson has played two of his four Origin games in a similar utility role and is somewhat of a rugby league Swiss Army Knife, covering fullback, centre and the halves. And his Titans teammate Keenan Palasia believes Brimson will be back to his scintillating best this weekend. "Brimmo was flying today (at training) and burning everyone so hopefully he does that in the game," Palasia said.


NSW have only ever won two deciding games in Brisbane and will need to make history to win the series this year. Slater will be forced into at least one change for Game 3 after winger Xavier Coates tore his hamstring while playing for the Storm just three days after Origin 2.

Cobbo appears the likely choice after playing in Game 1 off the bench. Concerns around his physical and mental welfare saw him drop out of the team for Game 2 but he is reportedly refreshed and ready to go.

Broncos coach Kevin Walters echoed that sentiment on Monday, saying Cobbo has overcome the struggles he was enduring and will be in the right headspace if he is selected for the series decider. "I think he'd be at the forefront of Billy's mind, that's for sure. He had another strong game for us,'' Walters said about Cobbo's performance in Brisbane's loss to the Warriors.

"He got some time away from the game. He went back to Cherbourg and his family. That's normally very invigorating for players, particularly Selwyn with time with his family. That's all he needed. Just a bit of a break. I'm sure if he's called upon he'd love to play for Queensland, but we've got next week against the Panthers (on Friday night) and he's got to get his mind around that short turnaround for us.''

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - JUNE 05:  Selwyn Cobbo and Xavier Coates of the Maroons celebrate after winning game one of the 2024 Men's State of Origin Series between New South Wales Blues and Queensland Maroons at Accor Stadium on June 05, 2024 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)
Selwyn Cobbo is favourite to take Xavier Coates' spot on the wing for Queensland.

While Cobbo is the most likely to get the nod on the wing in place of the injured Coates, Slater does have other options. The Maroons coach may shift Valentine Holmes to wing and play Cobbo as a centre or select Queensland veteran Dane Gagai, who was the 18th man in Game 2, at centre for the series decider.

The Newcastle centre has played 22 Origin games in his illustrious career, scoring 12 Origin tries and he has never let his state down. North Queensland veteran Kyle Feldt - who played two Origin games in 2021 - has been in top form and is another option on the wing.

with AAP