Joey axes seven Blues from losing 2020 team

Rugby league immortal Andrew Johns has axed seven Blues from last year’s Game III losing squad.

With the series opener scheduled for next month, Johns, who each week has built his squad position at a time, finalised his hypothetical Blues team.

Johns finished off his team by naming his bench and 18th man, with his selections meaning Daniel Tupou, Clint Gutherson, Cody Walker, Jake Trbojevic, Dale Finucane, Nathan Brown and Isaah Yeo were all dropped from the Blues team that lost to Queensland last November.

Discussing his selections on the interchange, Johns said the versatility Storm fullback Ryan Papenhuyzen provides makes him the perfect No.14.

“Depending on fitness, Ryan Papenhuyzen – he can play anywhere, halfback, five-eighth, fullback, even for 10 minutes [at hooker],” he told Wide World of Sports’ Freddy & The Eighth.

One of Johns’ major omissions from last year’s squad is Trbojevic, which he admits was a tough decision to make.

“This broke me, not putting Jake in [the top 17],” he added.

“Once again, slow start to the year because Tom Trbojevic wasn’t there. But you know what you will get off him.

“Defensively incredible, but also in attack he links in the middle of the field.

“I think at the moment Victor Radley has got his nose in front with his ball-playing especially.”

Andrew Johns’ Blues for Origin 2021: (Johns will name his replacements for Zac Lomax and Cameron Murray next week)

1. James Tedesco, 2. Josh Addo-Carr, 3. Latrell Mitchell, 4. Zac Lomax (now injured), 5. Tom Trbojevic, 6. Jack Wighton, 7. Nathan Cleary, 8. Junior Paulo, 9. Damien Cook, 10. Payne Haas, 11. Angus Crichton, 12. Cameron Murray (now injured), 13. Victor Radley, 14. Ryan Papenhuyzen, 15. Daniel Saifiti, 16. Tyson Frizell, 17. Reagan Campbell-Gillard, 18. Jake Trbojevic.

The squad from Game III 2021: (Highlighted below have been left out of Johns’ top 17 named above):

1. James Tedesco, 2. Daniel Tupou, 3. Clint Gutherson, 4. Jack Wighton, 5. Josh Addo-Carr, 6. Cody Walker, 7. Nathan Cleary, 8. Daniel Saifiti, 9. Damien Cook, 10. Payne Haas, 11. Angus Crichton, 12. Tyson Frizell, 13. Jake Trbojevic, 14. Dale Finucane, 15. Junior Paulo, 16. Nathan Brown, 17. Isaah Yeo, 18. Ryan Papenhuyzen.

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