NSW coach responds to ugly claims about Josh Addo-Carr's axing

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·Sports Editor
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Greg Alexander and Josh Addo-Carr, pictured here in State of Origin.
Greg Alexander has dismissed claims about Josh Addo-Carr's axing. Image: Getty

NSW assistant coach Greg Alexander has dismissed suggestions that Josh Addo-Carr's State of Origin axing is because of his move to the Bulldogs this year.

Addo-Carr's omission was the big shock when Brad Fittler announced his NSW squad on Sunday night.

The incumbent winger was overlooked in favour of Roosters star Daniel Tupou, despite starring for NSW over the last few years.

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Addo-Carr's form at NRL level has been indifferent this season after his move from the powerhouse Melbourne Storm to cellar-dwellers the Bulldogs.

Reacting to Addo-Carr's axing on Sunday night, former NSW player Nathan Hindmarsh said: “I feel a bit for the Foxx because he’s gone to a club that’s probably not going as well as he hoped and, for me, that’s what I think has cost him a jersey."

But according to Alexander, that's not the case.

“No, no. Look the Foxx... is out of form,” Alexander said on SEN radio on Monday.

“Plenty of players have been picked when they’ve been in bad form or not great form but they’ve done the job (at Origin level) before.

“With in mind what Queensland will be picking, we just decided that we’d go with Daniel Tupou on the wing instead of Josh Addo-Carr.

“Daniel Tupou’s been in great form as well, he’s also been there before. He did a great job for us in 2020, I thought he was one of our better players in 2020.

“He’s a great carry out of his own end, he’s tall, he’s a target for our kicks but he can also defend kicks.”

Josh Addo-Carr, pictured here in action for the Bulldogs against the Newcastle Knights.
Josh Addo-Carr in action for the Bulldogs against the Newcastle Knights. (Photo by Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images)

Addo-Carr has scored 10 tries in 12 games for NSW and sits second all-time for the state.

But Fittler felt he needed an answer to Queensland's high-flying wingers Xavier Coates and Selwyn Cobbo.

At 196cm, Tupou is seen as just that while also acting as an aerial target himself for halfback Nathan Cleary.

"I'm surprised that people would be surprised," Fittler told 9News about Addo-Carr's axing.

"He's (Tupou) pretty much been the best winger for a number of years. He's always on my radar.

"I've coached (Tupou) in the City team and State of Origin previously, and I've always loved him being part of my teams."

Brad Fittler explains Josh Addo-Carr axing

Elaborating on his decision on Monday morning, Fittler said it wasn't so much Addo-Carr's form but Tupou's consistency that got him the nod.

“It was a tough one and I understand it’s caused a stir. It was more of a case of Tupou playing his way in and how safe he is,” Fittler told SEN breakfast radio.

“I feel like at the moment … I don’t think it’d be right on Foxx (Addo-Carr) or the team to go into Game I.

“We’ve communicated, and he’s committed to getting back in the team.

“My line to him was, he belongs here, that was a tough one.”

Meanwhile, Fittler has revealed that Jack Wighton will start at left centre for the Blues, with debutant Stephen Crichton to come off the bench.

It was originally thought that Crichton and Kotoni Staggs would be the centre pairing, but Wighton has won the starting job.

Crichton's bench berth means Cronulla star Nicho Hynes will be 18th man.

NSW team: James Tedesco (capt), Brian To'o, Kotoni Staggs, Jack Wighton, Daniel Tupou, Jarome Luai, Nathan Cleary, Payne Haas, Damien Cook, Junior Paulo, Cameron Murray, Tariq Sims, Isaah Yeo.

Bench: Stephen Crichton, Liam Martin, Reagan Campbell-Gillard, Ryan Matterson.

18th man: Nicho Hynes.

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