State of Origin news 2023, Darryl Brohman worried Queensland Maroons Val Holmes defending Latrell Mitchell, dropping Dane Gagai3 min read
Queensland cult hero Darryl Brohman is worried the Maroons have made a dire mistake in dropping Dane Gagai.
The veteran centre was a shock axing on Monday after a State of Origin career that’s reaped 12 tries in 22 games, and the 2017 Wally Lewis Medal for player of the series.
« I’m surprised by it, » Brohman told Wide World of Sports’ Six Tackles with Gus podcast.
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« He’s one of those players – there’s been a number of them over the years – when it comes to State of Origin… over his career he’s been an outstanding player for Queensland.
« I’m surprised he’s not in the side. I know he hasn’t been going great this year. But that’s the history of Origin, there’s often been players picked who haven’t been going great, there’s been players picked from reserve grade, and for mine Dane Gagai should have been in the side. »
But while his tryscoring feats will make the highlight reels for years to come, it is Gagai’s defensive work which Brohman says will be missed most.
It’s a sentiment shared by former New South Wales coach Phil Gould, who believes Blues centre Latrell Mitchell could tear the Maroons apart in Gagai’s absence.
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Last time Mitchell wore the blue jersey he scored four tries – including a double in game one – to lift his state to victory in the 2021 series.
He returns at left centre on Wednesday at Adelaide Oval, having missed last year’s Origin through injury, but exactly who marks him remains a point of contention.
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Queensland has picked Valentine Holmes and Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow as its centres for game one, but Gould says either will struggle to contain the in-form Mitchell.
« I was surprised because Latrell Mitchell they knew would be playing left centre for NSW. That’s a big ask for Hamiso, who is playing fullback on a weekly basis (at the Cowboys), to come in and mark him, » Gould told the podcast.
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« (Holmes) will be playing out of position, too.
« It doesn’t really matter who marks Latrell, they’re going to have their hands full. »
Brohman is concerned if Holmes gets the job, after watching his efforts for North Queensland in a 66-18 thumping at the hands of the Tigers in round 12.
« Val had a shocker. I’d never seen Val have a bad game until the weekend, he was terrible, » Brohman said.
« I reckon he missed eight tackles on Starford To’a. I’m hoping Val is seething from that effort. »
In 13 games for Queensland to date, Holmes has only spent three of those as a specialist centre.
That was in last year’s series, in which the Maroons beat the Blues 2-1 and Holmes scored two tries.
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