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Three debutants, six Panthers highlight Blues side for origin

Newshub logo Newshub 30/05/2021 William Hewett
a crowd of people watching a football ball: NSW Blues © Photo - Photosport; Video - Newshub NSW Blues

New South Wales have named three debutants and six Penrith Panthers players for the opening game of State of Origin in June.  

Coach Brad Fittler will unleash Brian To’o, Jarome Luai, and Liam Martin for their first appearance in the blue jersey as they look to rebound from last year's 2-1 series defeat to the Maroons. 

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Panthers players are scattered throughout the Blues side with six players named in the 19-man squad, which will be captained by James Tedesco. 

After lots of speculation, Fittler has named Penrith duo Jarome Luai and Nathan Cleary in the halves position after their spectacular form to start the 2021 NRL season.

Luai is leading the NRL for try assists for the second year running and will get his opportunity to make his Blues debut. 

Tedesco has got the nod in the fullback role with Manly's Tom Trbojevic - who has had an incredible return to action from a hamstring injury - and Latrell Mitchell will start in the centres.  

Josh Addo-Carr and To'o - who is leading the NRL for post contacted metres - have beened named to start on the wing. 

Daniel Saifiti and Jake Trbojevic are the starting props with Cameron Murray - who escaped suspension after being placed on report against the Parramatta Eels - Tariq Sims, Damien Cook and Isaah Yeo making up the starting forward pack.

Raiders five-eighth Jack Wighton will wear the hotly contested 14 jersey, with Junior Paulo, Payne Haas and Martin making up the interchange bench. 

Panthers hooker Api Koroisau has been named as the 18th man and could make his debut with Souths centre Campbell Graham also in line for his first appearnce in State of Origin after being named as the 19th player in the squad.

Question marks still remain around the venue for game one, with the latest outbreak of COVID-19 cases in Melbourne forcing Victoria into a lockdown.

This has seen Queensland Country Bank Stadium in Townsville mooted as the likely venue for the series opener on Wednesday June 9.

Game two will be held at Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane on June 27 before the series finally at Stadium Australia in Sydney on July 14. 

NSW Blues: 1-James Tedesco, 2-Brian To'o, 3-Latrell Mitchell, 4-Tom Trbojevic, 5-Josh Addo-Carr, 6- Jarome Luai, 7-Nathen Cleary, 8-Daniel Saifiti, 9-Damien Cook, 10-Jake Trbojevic, 11-Cameron Murray, 12-Tariq Sims, 13-Isaiah Yeo, 

Interchange: 14-Jack Wighton, 15-Junior Paulo, 16-Payne Haas, 17-Liam Martin, 18-Api Koroisau, 19-Campbell Graham

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