Sea Eagles and Blues legend Geoff Toovey was known as one of the toughest men in rugby league – he never shied away from a contest.
And that is why he cannot understand fellow hard nut Jake Trbojevic’s non-selection for New South Wales in Origin I, scheduled for Sydney on Wednesday night.
Trbojevic has never disappointed his state after 13 appearances in the sky-blue jersey, but Blues selectors decided Payne Haas, Junior Paulo and Isaah Yeo were the best starting middle forwards on this occasion.
However, Toovey’s opinion of the 28-year-old – who he coached during his younger days at Manly – has not changed.
“Jake’s been playing some good football and he’s always steady,” Toovey told BettingSite.com.au.
“He’s never let NSW down. And the people I think they’ve put in front of him haven’t been playing any better than him, so I was a bit surprised.
“But I’m sure the players they’ve put there will do the job.”
Toovey would also have Josh Addo-Carr in his Blues side.
The 26-year-old winger has been nothing short of a superstar at State of Origin level, with 10 tries from 12 appearances.
He has only been involved in one series loss from four campaigns since making his debut in Brad Fittler’s revamped 2018 outfit.
“I think New South Wales has picked a team that’s not quite a team that I would pick, particularly in the outside backs,” Toovey said.
“But I think the starting pack for NSW is really good.”
Asked about Queensland’s talented backline, which includes try-scoring flyers Selwyn Cobbo and Xavier Coates, Toovey said the Blues’ recent Origin dominance was set to be strongly challenged this year.
But he believes the big-match experience throughout NSW can be enough to get the side home in a tight contest.
“Queensland has definitely got some young, in-form outside backs and I’m sure they’ll do well,” Toovey said.
“They’re in form, so it should be a really close contest. They’ll be a threat, and hopefully the NSW backs can match them.
“I’ve backed the Blues by two points. I think Nathan Clearly will kick the winning goal, whether it’s from a try conversion or a penalty.”
Saturday Slingshot: Horse racing best bets for July 2, 2022
GWS Giants v Hawthorn AFL match preview & top odds – Rd16,...
Richmond v West Coast AFL betting preview & top odds – Rd16,...
NRL Dragons v Raiders betting preview & round 16 tips | 3/7/22
Cowboys vs Broncos NRL Rd 17 betting tips – Saturday, July 2
Gold Coast vs Collingwood AFL tips & value bets – July 2,...
Rabbitohs vs Eels NRL betting tips & multi plays – Rd 17,...
AFL Geelong vs North Melbourne best bets & odds – Rd 16,...