Cowboys hooker Reece Robson emerged as a shock NSW bolter, amid ‘controversy’ within the Blues camp over the appointment of Reagan Campbell-Gillard as a starter.
Dave Riccio reported on Triple-M that Robson is close to a shock call-up to Team NSW for Game 2.
“I don’t know if that’s enough to get him into the final 17, but I’ve been getting pretty good mail that North Queensland Cowboys’ Reece Robson, who is in great form, is in scope to be included in this. Blues team,” Riccio said on Triple-M.
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“He came very close to being chosen in the Origin I team.
“When you talk about bringing a point of difference off the bench or bringing speed to the legs, Reece Robson has been absolutely sensational for the Cowboys.
“Keep an eye out for Robson as a potential bolter for the Blues Origin team.”
Meanwhile, despite his noticeable dip in form this season, NSW Blues manager Brad Fittler ‘desperate’ Newcastle Knights star Daniel Saifiti in the squad amid a ‘split’ over whether Reagan Campbell-Gillard was worthy of a starting spot.
Campbell-Gillard was a surprise starter in the Blues’ lineup in the original opener last Wednesday but struggled to find his groove as NSW lost 16-10 to Queensland at the Accor Stadium.
Perhaps his disappointing performance was due to the fact that, according to The Daily Telegraph’s Parramatta Eels star David Riccio wasn’t even a nailed down starter “three or four days” before Fittler finalized his starting 13.
“Campbell-Gillard is an interesting player because he’s never been a firm selection,” Riccio said of Triple M.
“Three or four days before the team is chosen, Campbell-Gillard is still an umm-ing and ah-ing selection in the Blues camp.
“It was the absence of that big body on the bench that ultimately, due to Daniel Saifiti not being available, that they decided to go the Campbell-Gillard route.
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“I don’t know if he left the impression on the game that I would have thought.
“He had an opportunity, it’s only his second Origin game since 2018. I feel like he’s under some pressure to keep his position.”
Riccio explained the selection mindset within the Blues camp in the days leading up to Origin’s opening clash and revealed not everyone was sure Campbell-Gillard was the right one person for the starting role.
“There was a bit of contention within the Blues camp over whether Campbell-Gillard was the right choice just days away from selection,” Riccio said.
“That’s why Jacob Saifiti was a bit of a bolter to come into this team because they lacked that big body, that big, big man in the form of Daniel Saifiti.
“Les Bleus desperately wanted to choose Daniel Saifiti. They have so much respect for what he’s been able to produce over the last two series, but he finally suffered that knee injury in that last game.
“They were ready, despite his declining form this year, to give him a chance if he produced something in that game where he injured his knee.