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SOO: Interesting Riccio article

Frenzy.

Immortal
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49,287
Inside Michael Maguire’s Blues spine meeting with James Tedesco, Nicho Hynes and Tom Trbojevic

In what is a first-look at who Blues coach Michael Maguire is considering for his crucial spine positions ahead of State of Origin I, the leading contenders met in secret.

David Riccio David Riccio Exclusive

Sharks attacking weapons Nicho Hynes and Blayke Brailey have emerged as NSW State of Origin contenders following a secret playmakers meeting with Blues coach Michael Maguire.
In what is a first look at who Maguire is considering for his crucial spine positions ahead of State of Origin I, the new Blues coach gathered a collection of fullbacks, halves and hookers at the Blues HQ at Sydney Olympic Park on Tuesday night.

Both Hynes and Brailey were invited following the Sharks’ strong start to the season, proving also, that Maguire won’t be backing down from his declaration when taking the job that he’s willing to pick players on form only.

Hynes, after performing strongly in his two Test appearances for Australia last year, has made no secret of his dream to earn a starting halves jersey with the Blues and his strong start to the season with Cronulla has propelled his name forward.

Brailey has emerged as a bolter for the NSW No.9 jersey, a position that Maguire has depth in with incumbent Damien Cook, Wests Tigers talent Api Koroisau and rising Warriors star Wayde Egan.

Nicho Hynes was at the meeting. Picture: Ian Hitchcock/Getty Images

Nicho Hynes was at the meeting. Picture: Ian Hitchcock/Getty Images

Despite his powerful start to the 2024 season, Brailey’s invitation comes as a surprise by the fact that he originally wasn’t included in Maguire’s 40-man extended Blues catch-up earlier this year.

However, his form led Maguire to invite the 25-year-old into the NSW inner-sanctum.

Boasting speed, a radar-like pass and astute kicking game, the Sharks 2023 Player of the Year has proven influential in Cronulla’s best wins this season, including their round one victory over the Warriors and their comeback win over the Raiders.

Also at the dinner were proven NSW spine members including Blues captain James Tedesco and Manly’s Tom Trbojevic.

Incumbent Blues five-eighth Mitchell Moses was also in attendance despite his ongoing recovery from a broken foot.

Moses is due back for the Eels in round 12 with Maguire to name his team for Origin I on June 5 in Sydney just 48-hours after Parramatta’s clash with the Rabbitohs.

Eels teammate Clint Gutherson, who was given three minutes of action from the interchange bench in Origin III, was also invited to the spine get-together.

Interestingly, the Rabbitohs spine contingent of Damien Cook, Latrell Mitchell and Cody Walker were invited to the get-together.

Mitch Moses was called despite being out with a foot injury. Picture: NRL Photos


However, the trio declined the offer due to the Rabbitohs current crisis of form that has them tied to the bottom of the NRL ladder.

Also absent due to time away as a result of Penrith’s bye were NSW halfback Nathan Cleary and Panthers teammates Jarome Luai and Dylan Edwards.

Koroisau was also invited, while Egan is expected to meet with Maguire when the Warriors next play in Sydney.

The Blues were able to save the series from a 3-0 clean sweep last year by winning the final match of the series 24-10 with the spine of Tedesco, Walker, Moses and Cook.

The most recent catch-up speaks to Maguire’s willingness to ensure the Blues leave no stone unturned in readiness for the series.

The players used the dinner to relax and mingle, while also floating possible game plan ideas to tackle the Maroons.

Maguire is on a mission to reclaim the shield for NSW by aligning belief and support from both the current and past players.

Outside of last Tuesday’s spine meeting, Maguire also organised for 40 Blues legends to gather last Wednesday.

Among the list of NSW greats to show their support for Maguire’s campaign were, Boyd Cordner, Mick Cronin, Steve Menzies, Luke Lewis, Craig Wing, Tim Brasher, Garry Jack and Nathan Hindmarsh.
 
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10,145
The article sounded positive, but how the Souths trio got an invite is beyond me, it's like we can't upset them being them along.
If you are not playing good enough red line goes through you
 

Frenzy.

Immortal
Messages
49,287
The article sounded positive, but how the Souths trio got an invite is beyond me, it's like we can't upset them being them along.
If you are not playing good enough red line goes through you
Maybe but they'd be there because it's 29 games of experience they can bring and feedback.

Let's just imagine that Nicho and Tinkerbell do somehow flum their way into the team. 2 rookie spine members have to have mentoring from snarks that have been there.
 

Frenzy.

Immortal
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49,287
If Tedesco and Brailey are in that spine then it’s Qld by 30.

API and Edwards. Or API and Pappy.
I reckon Egan is the form hooker in this comp so far but as much as you can take the boy out of the Warriors can you take the Warrior out of the boy.

He would have some understanding of Cleary and Eddy if he was the 1. As Api does.

Was it you that identified that Api struggles under fatigue? That's a worry in SOO and would mean having to burn a bench slat for a hooker or proper 14
 

Special K

Coach
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19,319
If Api gets injured there is a real chance Brailey gets the call. You can't go Cook. Also Moses is out, Luai hasn't fired in origin and cody out of form means Nicho is a real shot at 6.

Crazy.
 

Inferno

Coach
Messages
18,266
I had wondered if Nicho wandering to the left side more often this year (and late last year) was him wanting to show he could play with Cleary who is mostly a right side player.

If Api gets injured I could see Brails getting a shot but if Api is in they would be far better off with someone like McInnes who can player hooker.
 

Ozzi_78

First Grade
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6,562
Api has fitness concerns imo. And I don’t mean injury. I mean his level of fitness is amiss.
 

Frenzy.

Immortal
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49,287
Robson would be ahead of Brailey. More physical and aggressive player.
I don't think he is. He was in the original squad but I reckon Tinkerbell has jumped him in the pecking order.

My opinion notwithstanding Tinker's on the rise where it matters. Getting mentions all over the press, guest spots on Smutty Johns show, elevated into squad, trained with squad last year simply because the boffins love his DH service, coming out of himself. Stars are aligning. Maybe not 2024 but he will play origin
 
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10,145
I don't think he is. He was in the original squad but I reckon Tinkerbell has jumped him in the pecking order.

My opinion notwithstanding Tinker's on the rise where it matters. Getting mentions all over the press, guest spots on Smutty Johns show, elevated into squad, trained with squad last year simply because the boffins love his DH service, coming out of himself. Stars are aligning. Maybe not 2024 but he will play origin
He is starting to run more.
What he needs is making decisions inside 20, when to go himself, looking for a heads up play if he can develop that part of his game.
What he does well and I have not been a fan he backs up, he is on the spot for a try.
Maybe Fitz giving him player of the year last year was genius move
 

Eion

First Grade
Messages
7,714
BB is light years better this year than any other so far. This is the first time I can remember he has put back to back very good performances in. His only off game was against the Tigers and he was in the conversation for MOM against the bunnies.
 
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10,145
I remember when Chris McKenna was playing for us he was busted but still went and played for QLD and then he could not back up for us
 

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