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The Roar


Dragon McInnes closes in on NSW Origin debut

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28th September, 2020

Cameron McInnes is one step closer to his State of Origin debut after being one of five players from outside the finals named in NSW’s squad.

McInnes had a dream Sunday, leading St George Illawarra to a 30-22 win over Melbourne and then being named the Dragons’ player of the year for a second straight season just hours after getting the news on Origin.

Incumbents Payne Haas, Tyson Frizell and Jake and Tom Trbojevic were the other players named to be included in Brad Fittler’s 27-man squad for the series on Sunday.

The Blues will continue to name players as their NRL seasons end, giving them notice to remain fit even while outside of the bubble before camp begins on October 19.

It means at this stage Zac Lomax and David Nofoaluma have been denied shots at a debut, while Dragons Paul Vaughan and Tariq Sims have been dropped.

It’s believed the Blues will however tap some players on the shoulder to say they could be brought in to the group if injuries hit during the finals series.

“This season has been extremely challenging for the game,” Fittler said.

“I believe they all will play a role in helping NSW defend the State of Origin Shield and I’m looking forward to working with them when we go into camp.”

Queensland will follow a similar method, and are expected to name their initial players after a series of medical assessments this week.


McInnes’ versatility gives him every chance to make an Origin debut.

While Damien Cook will likely be the first-choice hooker and Api Koroisau an alternative option, McInnes gives utility value if used off the bench.

He has impressed this year while playing mostly at lock for St George Illawarra, leading the club’s tackle count while still offering plenty of play-making opportunities.

Meanwhile the decision not to pick Lomax suggests Fittler will include either Stephen Crichton or Campbell Graham in his squad.

Both remain in the finals at Penrith and South Sydney, and would likely be needed for back-up if Tom Trbojevic is not fit for the series opener.

Jack Wighton would then be expected to hold his position on the other side at right centre.