Origin 1 Training Gallery: https://www.rabbitohs.com.au/news/origin-i-gallery
From The Sporting News,
Versatility the key for NSW Blues as Cameron Murray trains in shock new role
Versatility is the word of the day for New South Wales ahead of their series opener against Queensland on May 31.
With a few interesting selections from Brad Fittler
and company, the Blues will be relying on players to fill in at roles they might not usually feature in for their NRL clubs each week.
The perfect example came at Thursday morning's training session at Coogee Oval, with superstar Rabbitohs lock-forward Cameron Murray
spending time at hooker leading into the State of Origin clash.
Despite never playing there coming through the grades, Murray could potentially be thrust into the role at some stage after NSW opted to go with Api Koroisau
in the starting role over Damien Cook.
This year, Koroisau hasn't played 80 minutes in any game for the Tigers, while axed star Cook has played every minute of every match for the Bunnies in 2023.
Speaking to the media, Murray admitted his inexperience in the dummy-half position, but is willing to do whatever job is required by Fittler.
“Who knows – anything can happen in Origin," the 25-year-old said.
"I’ve always said that I will play wherever Freddy wants me to play, I will just do my best for the team. If it happens, it happens – I think it is [possible] but in saying that, there are a few other options.
"We’ve got Nicho [Hynes] there in the 14 jumper, he would probably be a good fit there as well. I guess it will just come down to what happens on the night and whatever Freddy thinks is the right way to go.
“I don’t think I’ve ever played a full game there. I think I’ve played bits and pieces there… obviously I practice a little bit here and there after training with Cookie and helping out with his passes.
"I haven’t played too much there, but I’m confident I can do the job."
After coming up short in last year's Origin series, Fittler has opted to go with a new-look forward pack and bench rotation that includes one less front-rower and one extra second-rower than usual.
Murray will join Tyson Frizell
, Liam Martin and Hudson Young as the back-rowers in the NSW side, with the only recognised prop on the bench being Junior Paulo.
Fittler turned a few heads with his selection of Tevita Pangai Junior
in the starting lineup, but given the size and power of the Maroons pack, it's perhaps a little clearer to see why he went with the Canterbury firebrand.
Tom Flegler, Lindsay Collins and Tino Fa'asamaleaui as their big boppers in the middle, while the inclusion of in-form edge forward David Fifita will cause plenty of headaches for the Blues.
Murray has been named to come off the bench in Adelaide in a surprise move, but believes the crop of back-rowers Fittler has selected could prove beneficial.
“I have to be a little bit smarter in terms of my preparation and what I need to work on," he told The Sporting News.
"The blueprint of how I play doesn’t change – I’m still gonna try my best to play to my strengths regardless of the position I find myself in.
"If I am coming off the bench, I’m playing that second middle kind of role instead of that ball-playing role. If anything, it probably just simplifies my role a little bit and it’s more about bringing some energy and focusing on my effort areas.
“Versatility helps in a big game like this where there’s a lot of margin for error and things can go wrong.
"You need people that can play multiple positions and all our back-rowers can play middle, and a few middles can probably find themselves out on the edge as well.
"It’s always handy to have some versatility and some depth there and it’s good to have some experience too – there’s a lot of people in our side that have been in the Origin arena before and they know what it’s like.
"I’m not 100 per cent if that’s what it’s going to look like... I’ll jump into the scrimmage in different positions and make sure I’m across all the different positions I might find myself in."
Frizell will be back for his first NSW appearance since the unsuccessful 2020 series, ending his representative hiatus in another shock call from the selectors.
The 31-year-old echoed the sentiments of the South Sydney skipper in an interview with The Sporting News
and is prepared to fill whatever role is required.
“It’s definitely a versatile back-row and bench," Frizell said.
"There’s a lot of guys that have played middle in their time and guys like Liam who is playing middle at the moment at Penrith.
"I’ve played a bit of middle in Origin too earlier in my career and a little bit in club footy too. It’s no different and my role doesn’t change – defend well and run hard, that’s about it.
"If I get called upon in that middle role, I’ll be more than happy to do my best and do my job."