The New South Wales camp have come under fire for opting to wear a dark blue jersey for just the third time in their history for Origin Game I. James Tedesco and his men often wear a sky blue jersey when it comes to taking on the Maroons in State of Origin.
However, for the third time in the state's history, the Blues will run out in a darker striped jersey. Two light blue strips will form the darker jersey used in Adelaide for Game 1 next Wednesday, according to The Daily Telegraph. The Blues will switch back to the lighter jersey for the remaining two games.
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And the move hasn't delighted all fans. NRL commentator Andrew Voss took a tongue-and-cheek dig at the jersey and labelled the move away from tradition as a 'disgrace'.
“I reckon it’s time to protest. Wear the sky blue in defiance in the treacherous move to wear a Victorian jersey in Adelaide,” Voss said on SEN Radio. Co-host, and Australian swimming champ James Magnussen, booed the jersey change.
Blues selector Greg Alexander - who is also Voss' co-host on the SEN show - defended the decision and claimed the jersey worn last in 2019 was popular. The Blues won that series.
“The jersey we wore in Perth in 2019 has been one of the most popular jerseys we have worn with fans and this one is very similar,” Alexander said. “It’s not an issue with me and I’m sure it’s not an issue with any of the players and the fans that like the blue jersey back in 2019. I’m sure they will like it again.”
The Blues' 2022 jumper was a simple light blue strip. While Alexander defended the decision of a darker blue jersey in 2023, it didn't go down well with all Blues supporters. One suggested it was an example of how New South Wales don't get the importance of the jersey.
As a proud New South Welshman this is yet another example of NSW not getting State of Origin. If the Queenslanders were handed anything other than a maroon jersey they would refuse to wear it. Pride in the jersey is in the Light Blue one.
— Duggo03 (@duggo03) May 25, 2023
When South Australians see navy blue, they see Victoria. You don’t just stomp over decades of Aussie Rules State of Origin rivalry with the Big V.
— Brandon (@b3108) May 25, 2023
The Navy blue jersey is horrible.
— Carla JS (@CarlsCarla) May 25, 2023
Regardless of the backlash, the Blues camp have bigger issues to worry about. Star forward Payne Haas was seen injured in training on Friday.
Payne Haas injured in Blues training
Haas's preparations for Wednesday night's State of Origin opener were dealt a blow, with the rampaging NSW prop going down in an injury scare at Blues training on Friday. The Broncos prop - who currently leads the NRL's Dally M Medal count - rolled his ankle in a practice session on Friday morning.
Haas was seen limping off Sydney's Coogee Oval to seek medical treatment midway through the session. The 23-year-old wrecking ball was later seen with leg raised and an ice pack applied to the injured area.
Blues advisor Greg Alexander said NSW were simply taking "precautionary" measures with Haas, with NSW officials assuring gathered media that the issue was not deemed too serious.
"It's precautionary," Alexander told reporters on Friday. "It's an ankle sprain. He just trod on the boot of someone as he was running backwards and he's just gone over on the ankle."
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