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NRL News: Suaalii set for surprise Origin debut, Brimson making switch as part of long-term deal

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23rd May, 2024
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Joseph Suaalii could be set for a surprise State of Origin debut for NSW in his final season before taking up a multimillion-dollar deal in rugby.

Suaalii has been in strong form for the Roosters, playing mainly at centre and according to a NewsCorp report, he will beat the liks of Josh Addo-Carr and Zac Lomax for a spot on the flanks.

It would be a bold move by new coach Michael Maguire given that Suaalii is only available this season and has yet to play in the Origin arena.

Lomax has been in career-best form at the Dragons while Addo-Carr is a proven performer at Origin and Test level.

BRISBANE, AUSTRALIA - MAY 18: Joseph-Aukuso Suaalii of the Roosters runs the ball during the round 11 NRL match between Cronulla Sharks and Sydney Roosters at Suncorp Stadium, on May 18, 2024, in Brisbane, Australia.

(Photo by Chris Hyde/Getty Images)

His coach, Cameron Ciraldo, said The Foxx was more than capable of representing NSW again after Thursday night’s 44-12 demolition of the Dragons.

Maguire is likely to bring in the likes of Sharks veteran Cameron McInnes as part of a new-look Blues line-up in his first match since taking over from Brad Fittler but whether Dylan Edwards also makes his debut is still yet to be decided.

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Edwards has one last chance to stake a claim when the Panthers take on Cronulla on Saturday night while Tedesco and Suaalii will be pressing their claims earlier in the day for the Roosters in Canberra.

Nicho Hynes is certain to be the Blues’ half after Mitch Moses was ruled out from a last-ditch Indigenous Round audition for the vacant role following Nathan Cleary’s hamstring injury.

AJ aOK with saying saynoara to centre

It wasn’t a deal-breaker but AJ Brimson admits a return to Gold Coast’s spine was a sweetener after he added at least another four years to his NRL life at the Titans.

The 26-year-old was already on the books until 2026 but on Thursday confirmed a monster extension until 2030.

In the club’s system since he was 15, the four-time Queensland State of Origin talent never wanted to leave.

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But he said a return to fullback after a brief experiment in the centres earlier this season had helped ease his mind.

“I had a chat to Des (Hasler) and I don’t think I’ll be going back to the centres,” he said.

“Whether it’s (No.) six or one, wherever fits in the best.

“I’ve never had too much doubt in my mind I wanted to be here long term.”

Brimson (groin) will miss Sunday’s clash with Brisbane and is slated to return in round 18, seven games from now.

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But he said on Thursday he could be just four weeks away from his latest injury comeback.

“Hopefully, but it’s a play-it-by-ear thing,” he said.

The Titans (2-8) lost their first six games under new coach Hasler but have found some resolve with a 2-2 record since, the losses by two and four points.

They’ve also been beaten by one and four points this season.

Brimson acknowledged their rough start to life under Hasler but said captain Tino Fa’asuamaleaui’s (2033) long-term deal and David Fifita’s (2026) recent commitment, after initially signalling his intent to join the Sydney Roosters, had encouraged him.

“I can just see brightness coming in the future,” Brimson said.

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“Good young squad, players that want to stay here … hopefully other boys see what I’m seeing.”

Brimson laughed when asked how his body, which has copped its share of injuries, would hold up in 2030.

“That’s the question,” he smirked.

“No, it’ll be good; I’ve had all sorts of different injuries and never really been impacted by them (long-term) in a negative way.”

with AAP

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