Penrith wait on Origin selection call

·3-min read

Penrith could boast their biggest-ever State of Origin representation in a series with up to a remarkable nine players in the conversation for selection.

NSW will announce their side for another anticipated series opener on Sunday night, with Queensland following suit on Monday.

But complicating matters on Sunday morning will be the charge sheet from Saturday's games, with Panthers pair Isaah Yeo (high tackle) and Moses Leota (dangerous contact) put on report.

South Sydney duo Cody Walker and Cameron Murray were also cited later on Saturday night.

Yeo and Leota are two of nine Penrith players that could feature at some point in the series, beyond the club's current record of six in 1989 and 2004.

The representative workload shapes as about the only thing likely to stop the unbeaten Panthers' march in the NRL, which was extended to a stunning 12th game on Saturday evening.

While NSW halfback Nathan Cleary and Queensland utility Kurt Capewell virtually Origin certainties, Panthers players loom in discussions for all contentious NSW positions.

NSW must decide whether to partner teammate Jarome Luai with Cleary in the halves, with the pair having lost just one game while coming together last June.

If Brad Fittler prefers Jack Wighton for the No.6 jersey ahead of Walker and Luai, there is every chance Luai will find himself on the bench.

"I think he's definitely done enough," coach Ivan Cleary said of Luai's chances.

"He's played consistently well for two years. He brings more than his own individual skills.

"He energises our team, competes hard, he's definitely one guy that would not let the boys down."

Of Luai's possible selection as a utility, Cleary said: "You can put him wherever. It's not up to me.

"I'd love to see him in there somewhere but if he was chosen to start, I don't think he'd let them down."

Stephen Crichton is in the mix to battle Latrell Mitchell for the left centre spot, with James Tedesco certain to be fullback and Tom Trbojevic at right centre.

Brian To'o is a chance to claim a wing spot, with his power and speed up against Daniel Tupou's height to start the series.

The Blues' biggest question meanwhile remains in the back row, where Angus Crichton, Victor Radley and Boyd Cordner have all been ruled out.

Newcastle recruit Tyson Frizell is almost certain to play on the right edge, while Murray could feature at either lock or on another edge after returning from injury for South Sydney.

Yeo featured last year, and teammate Liam Martin shapes as a potential bolter, battling it out with Parramatta's Ryan Matterson as well as the experienced Tariq Sims.

Meanwhile Damien Cook's runs on the board are expected to see him remain at hooker, but Penrith's Apisai Koroisau could still pressure for the spot later in the series.

Matt Burton has also been floated as a potential utility or 18th man option, with the Panthers' half-turned-centre seen as a star of the future.

PREDICTED NSW TEAM FOR ORIGIN 1:

James Tedesco (capt), Daniel Tupou, Latrell Mitchell, Tom Trbojevic, Josh Addo-Carr, Jack Wighton, Nathan Cleary, Payne Haas, Damien Cook, Daniel Saifiti, Cameron Murray, Tyson Frizell, Isaah Yeo. Bench: Jarome Luai, Junior Paulo, Jake Trbojevic, Liam Martin. 18th man: Clint Gutherson.

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