The NSW State of Origin team has hit the training paddock for the first time ahead of Game 2, and a selection twist has emerged. Injured trio Cam Murray, Latrell Mitchell, and Liam Martin were present to watch Blues debutant Reece Robson take the centre stage. While Robson was originally slated for the utility role off the bench, rumours have spread that he could be elevated to the starting side in place of first-choice hooker Damien Cook.
Cook was promoted to the No. 9 jumper, placing Blues coach Brad Fittler under pressure to name the star in the run-on side. However, the potential for a shock switch emerged on day one of Blues camp in Coogee. “There has been some suggestion debutant Reece Robson could start in place of Damien Cook,” 7NEWS chief league reporter Michelle Bishop said from Blues training at Coogee Oval on Wednesday. “(Playing) effectively NSW’s third-choice hooker against Queensland – calling Robson into the squad for such a crucial clash was a gutsy one from Brad Fittler. And starting him is a huge gamble.”
Robson seemed prepared to embrace the opportunity to start the game and was ready to do whatever was necessary for the Blues. “It’s in the coaching staff’s hand to figure out what is going to be the best option,” Robson told 7NEWS. “Whatever they need me to do, I’ll be ready and up to the task.”
Robson’s selection comes after he was a member of the extended squad in his breakout 2022 season, and it has Fittler reverting to his system of carrying a hooker on his bench – as he did with Cook last year. Robson will become only the fifth player to represent NSW and the first since premiership-winning prop James Tamou in 2016, and he is ready to represent his state in the State of Origin arena. “He (NSW coach Brad Fittler) just said ‘get on a flight at 3.30 pm and see you down here’,” Robson told 7NEWS Sydney as he headed into camp. “It’s a great honour to play for your state and amongst the boys that I will play alongside, can’t wait, really looking forward to ripping in.”