Cowboy hooker Reece Robson has emerged as a shocking NSW bolter, while there has been a “fight” in the blues camp over naming Reagan Campbell-Gillard as a starter.
Dave Riccio reported on Triple M that Robson is on the verge of a shock call-up to the NSW Game Two squad.
“Whether that’s enough to get him in the last 17 I don’t know, but I’m getting pretty good mail that North Queensland Cowboys’ Reece Robson, who’s in great shape, is just the thing to be in the Blues Squad,” said Riccio at Triple M.
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“He came very close to being included in the Origin I roster.
“If you’re talking about making a difference off the bench or putting in some leg speed, Reece Robson has been absolutely sensational for the Cowboys.
“Keep an eye on Robson as a potential bolter for the Blues Origin team.”
Despite his notable drop in form this season, NSW Blues coach Brad Fittler “desperately wanted” Newcastle Knights star Daniel Saifiti on the team amid “disputes” over whether Reagan Campbell-Gillard was worth a starting spot.
Campbell-Gillard was a surprise starter in the Blues’ lineup in Origin’s first game last Wednesday, but he struggled to find his groove as NSW lost 16-10 to Queensland at Accor Stadium.
Perhaps his disappointing performance was due to the fact that, according to The DailyTelegraph Parramatta Eels star David Riccio wasn’t even a confident starter “three or four days” before Fittler had finalized his starting XI.
“Campbell-Gillard is an interesting player because he was never a permanent pick,” Riccio said of Triple M.
“Three or four days before team selection, Campbell-Gillard is still an umm-ing-and-ah-ing selection within the blues camp.
“It was the lack of that big body on the bench that ultimately led to them deciding to go down the Campbell-Gillard route due to the fact that Daniel Saifiti wasn’t available.
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“I don’t know if he made the impression in the game that I would have thought.
“He had a chance, it’s only his second Origin game since 2018. I feel like there’s pressure on him to hold his position.”
Explaining the selection mentality within the blues camp in the days leading up to the Origin clash, Riccio revealed that not everyone was sure Campbell-Gillard was the right man for the starting role.
“There was some disagreement within the Blues camp as to whether Campbell-Gillard was the right choice after a few days of selection,” Riccio said.
“So Jacob Saifiti was a bit of a bolter to get in that squad because they lacked that big body, that big, big man in the form of Daniel Saifiti.
“The Blues were keen to select Daniel Saifiti. They have so much respect for what he’s been able to do in the last two series, but ultimately it was in that last game that he suffered that knee injury.
“They were willing to give him a chance despite his loss of form this year if he produced anything in that game where he sustained the knee injury.