AJ Brimson‘s journey to a State of Origin comeback is nothing short of remarkable. Despite facing personal tragedy and a series of setbacks, Brimson’s selection is not just a stop-gap measure; there is genuine belief that he could be Queensland’s long-term fullback. Maroons coach Billy Slater made this clear when announcing that Brimson will replace the suspended Reece Walsh in game three on July 12.
The 24-year-old had a difficult start to the NRL campaign, dealing with a pair of hamstring tears. These injuries followed an emotional offseason where Brimson had to come to terms with the death of his close friend Liam Hampson. Despite these challenges, Brimson was determined to honor his friend’s memory and give his all on the field.
Brimson’s performances in the seven NRL games he completed have been outstanding. He has averaged 156 meters and five tackle busts per game, along with eight try assists and six line breaks. These impressive stats show that Brimson is more than capable of making an impact at the State of Origin level.
While Brimson’s opportunity came due to Walsh’s suspension and Kalyn Ponga‘s withdrawal, Slater made it clear that he is not just a temporary option. Brimson has earned his spot in the Queensland team and will be given the opportunity to prove himself on the Origin stage. Slater praised Brimson’s resilience and ability to overcome hurdles, both on and off the field.
However, Brimson wasn’t the only player in contention for a call-up. Selwyn Cobbo of the Brisbane Broncos and Tom Dearden of the North Queensland Cowboys also made compelling cases for selection. Cobbo, who scored twice in the series opener, was sidelined with a hip injury for game two but returned with a match-winning hat-trick against the Dolphins. Dearden also impressed with his performance in the Cowboys‘ historic 74-0 win over the Wests Tigers.
Despite the competition for spots, Slater confirmed that Brimson and debutant Corey Horsburgh had been part of the plans from early on. They had been named as the 18th and 19th man respectively for game two and will now have the chance to showcase their abilities. Slater admitted that they would devise a new game plan to maximize the strengths of these new inclusions.
In conclusion, AJ Brimson‘s selection for the State of Origin comeback is well-deserved, considering the challenges he has faced both personally and on the field. His impressive performances in the NRL have proven his worth, and he now has the opportunity to shine in the maroon jersey. Alongside Brimson, Corey Horsburgh will also make his debut, adding excitement to Queensland’s lineup. The competition for spots was fierce, with players like Selwyn Cobbo and Tom Dearden making strong cases for selection. Ultimately, the Queensland coaching staff made a well-considered decision, and Brimson and Horsburgh have earned their places on the Origin stage.