David Klemmer has been left out of the New South Wales State of Origin side for 2020, with Brad Fittler only naming one Newcastle player in his latest squad announcement.
The Blues are naming their squad as each player’s side is eliminated from the NRL finals, but after Newcastle were knocked out by South Sydney at ANZ Stadium, Daniel Saifiti was the only Knight added to the 27-man group on Sunday evening. Zac Lomax was the only other player named, joining Saifiti in bolstering the quartet of Jake Trbojevic, Cameron McInnes, Tyson Frizell and Payne Haas, who were the first selections last Sunday.
Tom Trbojevic had initially been named in the squad, but was later ruled out due to injury. His omission has paved the way for Lomax to come into the side, with the St George youngster now a chance of taking Trbojevic’s place in the centres for Game 1 in early November.
Klemmer’s omission, though, is a massive surprise. The Knights forward has been one of the better props in the competition all season, and one of the Blues’ most consistent performers in their back-to-back series victories.
His omission – and that of Paul Vaughan, who wasn’t amongst the first round of selections at the end of the home-and-away season – likely clears the way for Parramatta prop Reagan Campbell-Gillard to make a return to the Origin arena.
Klemmer is not the only Blues incumbent to be left out of the squad this year, with Sharks second-rower and captain Wade Graham, who played a starring role in the Game 2 win last year, also overlooked.
Mitchell Pearce, who helped NSW to their series-sealing win in Game 3 last year, is another notable omission from the squad, although that comes as far less of a surprise with Luke Keary and Nathan Clearly hotly favoured to be Fittler’s starting halves pairing.
NSW Origin squad so far
Payne Haas (Brisbane Broncos)
Jake Trbojevic (Manly Warringah Sea Eagles)
Tyson Frizell (St George Illawarra Dragons)
Zac Lomax (St George Illawarra Dragons)
Cameron McInnes (St George Illawarra Dragons)
Daniel Saifiti (Newcastle Knights)