Luke Keary emerges as unlikely Blues Origin saviour amid sad Nathan Cleary development

Keary's outstanding form comes amid a NSW injury crisis ahead of the Origin series.

Luke Keary has been backed to answer a State of Origin SOS for NSW after another superb display for the red-hot Roosters in Sunday's 38-18 win over the Warriors. Keary's latest impressive display comes hot on the heels of the devastating injury news for Nathan Cleary and the likelihood the three-time premiership-winning Penrith halfback will miss the entire Origin series as a result of his latest hamstring complaint.

The Panthers revealed on Sunday that results from scans showed Cleary suffered a grade two hamstring tear in the Panthers' 16-10 NRL triumph over the Bulldogs on Friday night. It means the star halfback is likely to be out for between six to eight weeks, which would all but rule him out of the Origin series, which kicks off in Sydney on June 5.

Pictured left to right are NRL stars Luke Keary and injured Penrith halfback Nathan Cleary.
Luke Keary's form has seen him thrown up as a possible Origin candidate for the Blues, who will be without injured Penrith halfback Nathan Cleary. Pic: Getty

Cleary's injury is yet another headache for Blues coach Michael Maguire, who has already seen other NSW Origin hopefuls Tom Trbojevic (hamstring) and Cameron Murray (hip flexor) ruled out. Mitchell Moses hasn't featured in the NRL since the round three victory over Manly after suffering a fracture in his left foot, and will be battling to push his claims for selection before the series gets underway.

Veteran halfback Adam Reynolds will miss most of the season for the Broncos with a torn bicep and Sharks playmaker Nicho Hynes sat out Cronulla's round 10 victory over Melbourne with a calf strain, but is expected back for the Magic Round clash against the Roosters on Saturday. Cody Walker is another potential halves option for Maguire's Blues after playing alongside Moses in the Game III victory last year, but his form has been underwhelming for the struggling Rabbitohs in 2023, while Panthers five-eighth Jarome Luai has seemingly fallen out of calculations for the NSW side.


It all leaves the in-form Keary - who confirmed this year will be his last in the NRL before retiring - as a shock contender to make just his second Origin appearance after debuting in 2020. And incumbent Blues skipper James Tedesco hailed the form of his Roosters teammate and said he would "fit in" to the NSW side well if selected.

"He's the most consistent half and he's been playing really well all year," Tedesco said after Sunday's big win over the Warriors. "Who knows, there is obviously a lot going on there in the halves with injuries and [questions about if] people available. I'm sure Keary would fit in."

Roosters coach Trent Robinson also weighed in on the Origin debate and said the better his team played, the greater the chance of more of his stars being selected for representative duty. "This is the time where I start getting asked a lot of questions about Origin," Robinson said. I think our best chance at getting players in a position where they might get selected is to keep driving home.

Seen here, Luke Keary playing for the Roosters in the NRL.
Luke Keary has been outstanding in the playmaking role for the red-hot Roosters in the NRL. Pic: Getty

"What we saw (against the Warriors)... was really confident combinations work hard. " If you're going to play with confidence, you need to have the confidence to win the moment. A bit more hardness, which is in the Origin arena, would assist our game. We need to continue on, looking forward to next week. If [the Roosters players] keep putting their best foot forward Madge (Maguire) will start looking up and so will Billy [Slater]."