mai 27, 2024

Paul Gallen exclusive column reacting to NSW Blues team selection, Zac Lomax at centre and James Tedesco axed

3 min read

NRL great PAUL GALLEN will appear on Nine’s 100% FOOTY every Monday night of the NRL season, debating rugby league’s hottest topics alongside Phil Gould and James Bracey. Tune in LIVE at 7.30pm (AEST) on 9Now tonight following a bumper round 12!

I have to say I do feel for James Tedesco after being dropped from the New South Wales team.

I had Teddy at fullback when I named my ideal Blues line-up a week ago.

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He’s been so good for the Blues for such a long time, and he’s been in good form for the Roosters this season so I thought he deserved to keep his spot.

I would have had him in the team, and there’s no doubt he would have done a good job for us again.

In saying that I can see why Michael Maguire has gone with Dylan Edwards.

Paul Gallen would have kept James Tedesco in the team. (Getty)

He’s been in terrific form consistently over three or four years now, so no one can begrudge him earning his spot in the Origin team.

I also don’t think there will be much difference in the NSW game plan with Edwards there instead of Tedesco.

They are very similar players – they are workhorse type fullbacks who bring plenty of energy and are good in both attack and defence.

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The main difference I see is Teddy has a slight advantage in ball-playing, which is why I would have kept him there.

But people say Edwards works harder than any player in the NRL and he will definitely do the job Madge asks him to.

Neither of those blokes are overly tall so they don’t exactly provide a kicking threat, but that’s why we’ve gone tall in the outside backs.

Stephen Crichton, Joseph Suaalii, and Zac Lomax are all good in the air and we need them to counter the towering Queensland backs like Xavier Coates and Selwyn Cobbo.

When I named my team last week I had Lomax in it, but on Saturday I actually dropped him when revising my team on 2GB’s Continuous Call Team.

I thought Lomax basically played himself out of a jersey on Thursday night when the Dragons were awful against the Bulldogs.

I also had Latrell Mitchell in my centres, but other than that – and Reece Robson at hooker rather than Blayke Brailey – my team was pretty close to what Maguire has gone with.

Referee Adam Gee sends Zac Lomax of the Dragons to the sin-bin. (Getty)

I love our backline. I had some concerns about Suaalii’s defence at centre, because I think he can get lost sometimes for the Roosters, but I’m sure the Blues will have a system in place that works.

He will have a big job next Wednesday defending either Val Holmes or Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow.

Robson at hooker, and with no back-up on the bench, is also an interesting selection for mine. I had Brailey as my No.9 but obviously Robson is a bigger body which will be good in defence for us.

North Queensland’s last two games probably pushed Robson ahead, because the Cowboys were pretty bad earlier in the season.

And with Cameron McInnes named to start at lock I’d imagine he might be used as a replacement hooker later in the contest – although Robson can play 80 minutes.

I think the plan will be for McInnes to play the first 20 or 25 minutes – which is normally pretty brutal – and then be replaced by Isaah Yeo at lock.

McInnes will then be on the bench if we need him later in the game.

Overall I really like the team Madge has picked, and there’s honestly no player there who you can say doesn’t deserve his spot.

The Blues know they have to win the first two games of the series, because history says we don’t want to be heading to Brisbane for a decider.

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