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Origin II: Who will Queensland pick to take on Addo-Carr?

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Cowboys star Murray Taulagi is among the candidates to replace injured Queensland winger Xavier Coates in Origin II. (Photo: Townsville Bulletin)

With Bulldogs flyer Josh Addo-Carr demanding a State of Origin recall for game two in Perth later this month, Queensland selectors face a dilemma of whom to pick to dull his brilliance.

In what many considered a glaring selection “blue”, Addo-Carr’s stunning Origin try-scoring strike rate was overlooked by NSW selectors and coach Brad Fittler for Origin 1.

Addo-Carr’s response to his Origin snub was a brilliant hat-trick in Canterbury’s upset of the year against Parramatta over the weekend, putting the heat back on Blues’ selectors who preferred lanky Sydney Roosters winger Daniel Tupou for Origin 1.

While Tupou didn’t do much wrong, he lacked Addo-Carr’s ability to create something from nothing with blistering speed and natural instincts.

It’s why, with 10 tries from his 12 straight Origin games since 2018, he is challenging Jarryd Hayne and Michael O’Connor, who share the NSW record of 11 tries each during their great careers.

Maroon selectors are on the lookout for someone to replace injured Storm winger Xavier Coates, due to undergo surgery this week after injuring his ankle in Queensland’s heroic 16-10 win in Sydney last month.

Fortunately, they aren’t short of options with experienced Brisbane winger Corey Oates and Cowboys pair Murray Taulagi and the flying Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow banging on the Origin door with some outstanding club form this season.

The question for Queensland selectors would seem to be which of the trio would be best equipped to deal with Addo-Carr’s bag of tricks and electrifying speed.

READ: Queensland’s most inspirational State of Origin players

Oates no longer has the pace he once had, but he still brings the ball back with great determination and he has played eight Origin games.

Tabuai-Fidow and Taulagi both have key ingredients of youth, hunger, and enthusiasm, so it will most likely come down to a choice between that pair, who will get one last chance to audition when the Cowboys take on Manly at 4 Pines Park on Friday night.

The Queensland team will be named after the Bulldogs-Tigers clash wraps up round 15.

While Tabuai-Fidow has the pace to match it with Addo-Carr, at 89kg he is not as physically equipped as Taulagi, who is 10kg heavier than Addo-Carr at 93kg.

That may be a factor in the selectors’ final decision depending on who grabs their opportunity this weekend.

Regardless, the Maroons will head west to Perth’s Optus Stadium with a 1-0 lead in the best-of-three series and with history on their side, as 30 of the past 40 winners have won the opening game.

They also have the backup of knowing if there is to be a decider, it will be played at Suncorp Stadium in front of a sell-out home crowd.

NSW will no doubt make a few changes.

Panthers centre Stephen Crichton has to start – he is not a bench player – and with Kotoni Staggs being shut out of game one he may be promoted to the starting spot.

Blues selectors also need to get some punch up front.

They missed the organisational skills and passion of a leader like Jake Trbojevic at times as well as some fire in the belly against Queensland’s young bulls Tino Faasuamaleau, Patrick Carrigan, and Lindsay Collins, who ripped into their rivals with great gusto.

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