Josh Addo-Carr remains no certainty to be picked for State of Origin this year according to NRL insiders, despite his exclusion from the side last year being widely regarded as a massive mistake on the part of the NSW Blues. Though the Origin series remains some weeks away, Addo-Carr's impressive form both for Australia at the Rugby League World Cup as well as the Canterbury Bulldogs through five rounds of the 2023 season may not be enough for him to earn his way back into the NSW side.
Paul Kent suggested on NRL 360 on Wednesday night that he 'feels sorry' for Addo-Carr as he believes the Blues will once again overlook the star winger. NSW memorably selected Daniel Tupou over Addo-Carr in 2022, before Queensland claimed yet another series victory.
Considering the series loss without Addo-Carr, as well as his form over the past six months, co-host Dan Ginnane put it to Kent that it was a 'fait accompli' that Addo-Carr would be picked. Kent refuted that, adding that he was confused as to why the Bulldogs star wasn't being considered a walk-up start.
“I don’t like saying it but I think he might be overlooked again," Kent said. “I can’t understand how.
"I thought he was magnificent for Australia. He was probably their best player at the World Cup. I thought his absence was noticeable last year in the Origin series and let’s remember (NSW) lost that Origin series. But I don’t think they will pick him.”
Kent went on to suggest the only reason Addo-Carr wasn't picked last year was because the Blues simply 'didn't want to', and said there were early hints coach Brad Fittler could prefer Joseph Suaalii in the other wing spot.
The rest of the NRL 360 panel, including Daily Telegraph reporter Michael Carayannis and former NRL player James Hooper, agreed that it would be inexplicable if the Blues overlooked Addo-Carr again. Hooper said the 27-year-old was clearly a required player for the Blues this time around.
“I’m picking the Foxx every day of the week,” Hooper said. “You have only got to look at what he has done at Canterbury as their roster has improved and he has better players around him.
“He was one of the best wingers in the tournament in the World Cup. He’s a rep player. It will be a big story if they don’t pick him again. It will be just as big a story if they don’t pick him.”
— League Freak (@LeagueFreak) April 5, 2023
I’m a Roosters supporter but if Addo-Carr isn’t selected it’s nothing short of a disgrace
— Joe Scuderi (@JoeScuderi1) April 5, 2023
The only winner if they don’t pick him is Queensland
— Stuart Akister (@StuartAkister) April 5, 2023
Carayannis claimed the Blues had selected Tupou over Addo-Carr because their feared their two wingers would not have the size to compete - an argument rendered null and void following the 2022 series defeat. Kent said it was ludicrous that the Blues would overlook such a strong player over a relatively trivial concern about size.
“I found that argument ridiculous last year,” he said.“They picked one tall winger in Tupou.
"So they just thought that Queensland were not going to notice that one winger was five foot two and the other was six foot four. How does anyone expect you to believe that Queensland are not going to notice?
“If it is all about the kicking game and who is capable under the high ball, do they really think Queensland are going to sit there and not notice that? If it is about height, Addo-Carr is taller than To’o.”
Brad Fittler under pressure with Josh Addo-Carr Origin decision looming
Blues coach Fittler admitted after last year's Rugby League World Cup that Addo-Carr's dominant performances for Australia had brought him back into frame for selection. The Bulldogs star scored 12 tries in five games for the Kangaroos late last year.
"What he did is he proved that he's the best person for that job. He was in the middle of the field and didn't let many in," Fittler said at the time.
"One thing that was really strong was his defence and he was carrying the ball out of trouble. He was one of the best players in the Australian team."
Fittler said part of Addo-Carr's case for Origin would depend on whether or not Canterbury would improve in his second season - after five games their 3-2 record suggests improvements have been made.
"He was playing better in November than he was in March," Fittler said last November. "If he takes that into the off-season and then playing for Canterbury ... they've got a new couple of players and all of a sudden they could be winning games.
"It always helps when you're winning games, and he's going back to a club that in my eyes will win more games because it looks like they're going to be stronger. Everyone wants to see Josh play in the rep arena where you can see that he takes the game to another level."
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