Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow makes bold Maroons fullback claim amid calls for him to replace Reece Walsh

Hammer has his sights set on the Maroons No.1 jersey.

Dolphins star Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow has put his hand up for the Maroons fullback spot, stating it is his dream to pull on the Queensland No.1 jersey. There is no shortage of quality fullbacks in Queensland but after starring in Game 1, there were calls for Hammer to be given the fullback spot over Reece Walsh.

Tabuai-Fidow moved to the back when Walsh was ruled out after just seven minutes in the Origin opener and the Maroons seemingly didn't lose any attacking threat as they ran away 38-10 winners. And with Walsh having not stepped onto the footy field since some fans and pundits were calling for Hammer to be given the fullback spot for Game 2.

Pictured left Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow and right Reece Walsh
Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow says his goal is to win the Maroons fullback spot. Image: Getty

But Billy Slater shut down suggestions that Hammer should be the Maroons' No.1, stating Walsh is currently the best man for the job. However, Tabuai-Fidow is hoping that won't always be the case but understands why Slater opted to go with Walsh again in Game 2.

“I wouldn’t mind it,” Tabuai-Fidow said. “I think it would be pretty cool for myself. (For) now, I’m focusing on centre and whatever position Billy wants me to play as well.

“It’s pretty scary when you think about it, Reece at the back and the outside backs that we do have and the speed we do have,” he said. "With him (Walsh) it’s all ad lib. He does everything at 100 miles an hour so you’ve got to see what he’s going to do and see what holes open up. You don’t know what he’s going to do so you’ve got to be on your toes. He can create something out of nothing too, so he’s pretty special.”

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - JUNE 05: Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow of the Maroons runs the ball to score a try during 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 Matt King/Getty Images)
Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow starred with a hat trick in Game 1.

Tabuai-Fidow's fullback ambitions paint a stark picture of the state's immense depth at the back, which includes Walsh, 2023 Dally M medallist Kalyn Ponga, Broncos star Selwyn Cobbo and Titans stars AJ Brimson and Jayden Campbell. Incredibly 26-year-old Ponga is the oldest of the group, highlighting just how youthful and bright Queensland's future is.

And ahead of Game 2, Tabuai-Fidow believes the potential for the current Queensland crop is yet to be realised, despite their resounding 38-10 victory in Game 1. “I think we’ve got a long way to go,” he said. “Last game we didn’t really show what we can actually do and the potential we do have. We do have another level in us. But after the Maroons squad for Game 2 was announced many fans voiced that they believed Slater made the wrong choice by sticking with Walsh over an in-form Hammer.

After a Game 1 hat trick Hammer has been backed to become the leading try scorer in State of Origin history. The Maroons centre is striking at an incredible 1.6 tries per match in his Origin career to date. His eight tries in five games for the Maroons has him placed equal 16th on the all-time Origin tryscoring list and he is quickly climbing up the ladder.

No other player, from NSW or Queensland, who has played more than one Origin match has a better strike rate than Hammer. To put it into perspective, Tabuai-Fidow is just one try behind former Maroons captain Darren Lockyer who notched his nine tries in a 36-game Origin career.

The leading try scorer in Origin history is former Queensland centre Greg Inglis who scored 18 tries in 32 games. For NSW, the leaders are Michael O'Connor, Jarryd Hayne and Josh Addo-Carr with 11 tries.

Of players to have notched eight or more tries in Origin, only current Maroons centre Valentine Holmes (13 tries in 17 matches) has a better strike rate than Tabuai-Fidow. And Holmes believes Hammer will only break the record but could do so by the time he is 25.


"Definitely, at this rate and the way he is going," Holmes said. "His support play is really good when he is at fullback and playing at centre outside (five-eighth) Cameron Munster gets into space.

"Now Tommy Dearden is doing a great job on that left side. I feel like whoever plays on that left side will go well. GI and Darbs (Darius Boyd) used to play on the left side and they scored a lot of tries. Statistically, the left side is one of our strengths."

with AAP