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Origin News: Maguire explains brutal Tedesco call, Hynes on track to play, Jake shocked to get captaincy

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27th May, 2024
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Michael Maguire says he has not discussed James Tedesco’s State of Origin future with him, after making the “tough” call to axe Australia’s Test captain from the NSW team.

Maguire on Monday said he went with a gut decision in picking Dylan Edwards ahead of Tedesco for the Origin series opener, praising the Penrith fullback’s work ethic and club success.

The decision has made Tedesco the first Kangaroos captain in history to be dropped from his Origin side, after 22 straight matches for NSW.

Maguire called Tedesco to deliver the news on Sunday, but said he did not discuss with the 31-year-old whether he had a desire to win back the NSW jersey.

“We didn’t get into those details, he’s a champion and he’s playing some good footy, so it was a big decision,” Maguire said. 

James Tedesco of the Blues is tackled during game one of the 2023 State of Origin series between the Queensland Maroons and New South Wales Blues at Adelaide Oval on May 31, 2023 in Adelaide, Australia. (Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)

James Tedesco. (Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)

“It was tough, but I understand why James is the person he is, he was excellent actually.

“I have the utmost respect for Teddy, he’s done everything in the game and I’ll hold what he said to me. 

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“But I can understand why he’s going to go down as one of the champions of the game. He’s still got plenty of footy in front of him too.”

Maguire said he had been won over by Edwards’ work rate, with one play against Cronulla on Saturday night sealing the deal for the Blues coach.

With Penrith already leading 28-0, Edwards sprinted from one side of the field to the other to deny Daniel Atkinson a 40-20 then beat a defender on his kick return.

The Panthers No.1 then made another 20-metre run later in the set to help Penrith earn a line dropout, before they scored a minute later in the same attacking raid.

“That solidified my decision that this is where we’re going,” Maguire said.

“He’s a player who’s been playing at the highest level, he’s played in four grand finals, we all know his stats and he’s won three. 

“He’s one of the most consistent players I’ve seen for a long, long time. I just felt from my gut it was the right time to give Dylan the opportunity to play. 

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“They’re always tough (decisions), I have huge respect for all the players. 

“But my job is about making decisions for what I believe is going to take the team to success.” 

Hynes to hit ground running

NSW expect Nicho Hynes to hit the ground running ahead of State of Origin I, adamant the halfback’s problematic calf won’t impact the Blues’ preparations.

Two days after failing to get through Cronulla’s 42-0 loss to Penrith on Saturday night, Hynes arrived at NSWRL headquarters on Monday as the state’s new No.7.

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Blues officials are confident the 27-year-old will be able to train from their first full session on Wednesday, in a team full of new combinations and with 11 changes.

“He had a scan yesterday and it looked really good. There’s no further damage and I think it actually looked better,” coach Michael Maguire said.

“I reckon he’ll hit the ground running on day one. That’s what we’re working towards.

“We’re really confident with where he’s at.”

ADELAIDE, AUSTRALIA - MAY 31: Nicholas Hynes of the Blues looks dejected during game one of the 2023 State of Origin series between the Queensland Maroons and New South Wales Blues at Adelaide Oval on May 31, 2023 in Adelaide, Australia. (Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)

Nicho Hynes. (Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)

If Hynes was to have issues, it is likely Luke Keary would be the man to come into the halves after initially being named as 19th man for the Blues.

Maguire is also backing Hynes’ ability to handle the heat at No.7.

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He played only 12 minutes off the bench on debut last year, and admitted a missed tackle in the centres and subsequent Blues axing rattled him.

The halfback has been among the NRL’s best this year, but endured one of his worst nights in years against Penrith on Saturday before succumbing to calf tightness.

“He’s ready to go,” Maguire said. 

“I’m really super confident with how Nicho’s been.

“Listening to the conversations of what he’s had to face over his career and what he’s learnt, I’m looking forward to how he comes into camp because he’s a leader.”

Maguire also defended going with form over legacy in several positions, while holding onto a NSW jersey in his first press conference as a Blues coach in camp.

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Jake surprised by elevation

Jake Trbojevic has admitted shock at being named NSW’s new State of Origin captain, with coach Michael Maguire describing him as a man who embodies the entire state.

Trbojevic received the biggest cheer from a crowd of Blues fans when he arrived at the team hotel on Monday afternoon, less than 24 hours after being told he would take over from the axed James Tedesco.

“I was very shocked, but I’m also very proud,” forward Trbojevic said. 

“I’ll play the way I always do, I’ll be passionate and that side will come out in me.

“To captain the Blues, it will be a great experience.

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“Obviously I don’t captain at club level, but one of my strengths is being passionate. I won’t change anything. And that’s what Madge told me to do.”

Trbojevic said he had not received any advice from Manly teammate Daly Cherry-Evans, with the pair to face off opposing skippers.

Jake Trbojevic looks to pass the ball during game two of the State of Origin series between New South Wales Blues and Queensland Maroons at Optus Stadium, on June 26, 2022, in Perth, Australia. (Photo by Paul Kane/Getty Images)

Jake Trbojevic. (Photo by Paul Kane/Getty Images)

In doing so, the pair will become the first clubmates to lead the two states in series since Sydney Roosters pair Brad Fittler and Adrian Lam in 2000.

Maguire admitted Trbojevic may have even been questioning his place in the team, before receiving a call to be told he was now the Blues skipper.

“You can’t ask for much more than when Jake talks about the jersey and the passion that he has for it,” Maguire said.

“We’re a big state. There’s a lot that goes on. People out in the country, going through good times and tough times. And in the city. 

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“Jakey, to me, represents a lot of that, by the way he talks and the passion that he has towards what the jersey means.

“He probably wasn’t sure where he sat from a team point of view, but everyone can see why people love playing with him.”

with AAP

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