The withdrawal of NSW gun Tom Trbojevic from the State of Origin series has come as a blow to Blues teammates and a surprise to coach Brad Fittler after being named in the squad.
The Manly and Blues utility back, who hardly played this NRL season with shoulder and hamstring injuries, pulled out of Brad Fittler's extended squad on Thursday.
'BE HONEST’: Cameron Smith slammed over 'delusional' claims
Initially, Fittler hadn’t heard about the news and admitted his surprise on 2GB radio.
“That’s the first I’ve heard about it,” Fittler said.
Trbojevic was one of five players named by Fittler and was scheduled to go into camp on October 19 ahead of the opening match of the interstate series in Adelaide on November 4.
But after Fittler said he would speak with the Manly doctors, he released statement thanking ‘Turbo’ for his efforts.
"We appreciate the effort by Tom and the Manly Sea Eagles to try to get him ready for Origin," Fittler said in a statement.
"It must have been a difficult but selfless decision for Tom to put the team first ahead of his desire to play in the series next month."
Tommy Turbo’s run of injuries in 2020
Trbojevic's troublesome hamstring forced him out in round six and then he picked up a shoulder injury in round 19.
However, the 23-year-old missed the first match of last year's series with a hamstring injury before scoring a hat-trick from the centres in game two despite playing just two NRL games in the lead up.
The 38-6 victory in Perth kept the series alive for the Blues off the back of Trbojevic's performance before they wrapped it up in the decider in Sydney.
"He's been a great player for the Blues in the past two series and big reason why the Blues have won the last two series," said hooker Damien Cook.
"Especially when he came into the game last year and did a great job.
"I probably feel a little bit sorry for Tom because I know how professional he is about everything off the field with his injuries.
"I've seen it first hand in camp how he deals with everything and the injuries he's had.
"He's a quality player, he's one of the best players in our game when he's fit so I just hope he gets his body right for the future of his playing career."
With James Tedesco assured of the NSW fullback jersey, Trbojevic was poised to slot in at wing or centre.
Fittler will add players to the extended squad every Sunday as more teams are eliminated from the NRL's finals series.
Click here to sign up to our newsletter for all the latest and breaking stories from Australia and around the world.