Rabbitohs forward Cameron Murray has escaped a crusher tackle charge from his side’s win over Parramatta, in a boost to the NSW State of Origin team.
Murray was cited for a tackle on Eels winger Blake Ferguson but NSW coach Brad Fittler was informed on Sunday that he would not face any ban; which was later confirmed by the NRL.
The fleet-footed back-rower will be free to play in the Origin opener against Queensland on June 9. It would be his fifth Origin match and he will likely form the starting back-row with Tyson Frizell and Jake Trbojevic.
Fittler copped one potential setback, with Penrith prop Moses Leota facing a one-to-two-match ban. Leota, who Fittler has admired over the past two seasons, was charged with a grade two careless high tackle on Bulldogs halfback Jake Averillo.
Leota set to miss Origin with suspension
Fittler confirmed on The Sunday Footy Show that Penrith back-rower Isaah Yeo had been selected in the pack, having debuted for the Blues last year. Roosters pair Victor Radley and Angus Crichton have already been rubbed out of back-row calculations by suspensions. Yeo has been tipped to come off the bench, though could start at lock.
“Cheers, Fred – bloody unreal, hey,” Yeo said after Fittler officially gave him the nod on live TV. “Bloody exciting, you dream of playing in games like that.”
The Sydney Morning Herald reported that two Panthers teammates – winger Brian To’o and five-eighth Jarome Luai – would debut for NSW in Origin I. To’o would partner incumbent winger Josh Addo-Carr.
It isn’t known if Luai will start at No.6, alongside Penrith teammate Nathan Cleary, or play off the bench. Luai and Jack Wighton will likely fill the No.6 and No.14 jerseys, in whatever order.
The Herald reported that Dragons forward Tariq Sims was expected to be in the squad, perhaps pipping Liam Martin and Tevita Pangai Jr to a bench spot.
The Australian’s Brent Read reported that Damien Cook would retain the hooker role, while Latrell Mitchell would make the NSW squad. Mitchell has been tipped to play left centre, partnering Tom Trbojevic on the right.
Fittler revealed on The Sunday Footy Show that Payne Haas’ knee injury scare from Brisbane’s loss to Melbourne wouldn’t keep him out of Origin, despite initial concerns that he could miss up to a month. He is set to start in the front-row alongside Daniel Saifiti, with Junior Paulo on the bench.
Fittler is also confident of having fullback James Tedesco, despite an ongoing hip complaint after the Roosters’ win over Canberra.
Freddy surprises Isaah Yeo on live tv with Origin selection
Incumbent NSW playmaker Cody Walker was put on report for a high tackle, Blues forward Nathan Brown was cited for two crusher tackles, while potential Queensland hooker Reed Mahoney was also cited in Eels-Rabbitohs.
The NRL match review committee revealed on Sunday that none were charged. Walker and Brown are not expected to be picked for NSW.
Yeo copped a fine for a careless high tackle on Bulldogs player Matt Doorey. Fringe NSW hopeful Ryan Matterson was fined for a careless high tackle on Rabbitohs forward Tatola Tevita.
Former Blues contender Ryan James, the Canberra prop, is facing a one-to-two-match ban for contrary conduct. He dropped his knee into Roosters counterpart Jared Waerea-Hargreaves, for which he was sin-binned.
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