Queensland legend Cameron Smith has weighed in on the debate over the Blues key spine positions, including the battle between star hooker Damien Cook and Api Koroisau.
However Smith also believes that picking jack Wighjton over Jarome Luai at No.6 is crazy.
Speaking on SEN Radio, Smith would pick as many Panthers players as possible given their incredible run of form, but believes Brad Fittler may stick with incumbency for Game I.
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“Damien Cook is not playing his best footy we will put it that way,” Smith said on SEN Radio.
“He is not playing the footy that we have seen him play in the past. That is a direct effect of the Rabbitohs at the moment.
“They are not playing their best footy either and rugby league is a team sport. It is hard to go out there and play your best when others around you are not playing their best as well.
“You complement each other. The Panthers are a perfect example. They are flying and everyone is in great form.”
Smith, who played 42 Origins for the Maroons at hooker through a period of unprecedented success believes that Fittler will stick with Cook initially, but admitted Koroisau was making a compelling case for inclusion.
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“It is an interesting one because Cook is the incumbent and he was part of the team when they won two series in a row,” Smith said.
“They took the stranglehold back off the Maroons and he has been a huge part of what they have built over the last few seasons.
“I don’t think for Game I that Brad Fittler will go away from Damien Cook, but the argument can be built for Api Koroisau given who he is playing for right now.
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“I look at Penrith and the style of footy they are playing and how well they are connected with each other you could put half their team in the NSW side.
“It is a really tough one, but I still feel they are going to go with Cook for the first game and Api Koroisau maybe thereabouts for the next two.
“It is a seamless transition really so you probably go with the bloke that has done the job in Damien Cook and if he plays well he stays.
“If they don’t get the result they want and Damien is quiet then maybe you look at Api.”
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Smith also believes that Jarome Luai should partner Nathan Cleary in the halves, despite reports Jack Wighton is the leading contender for the five-eighth spot.
“Cleary is going to be there and he is almost the first bloke picked for NSW,” Smith explained.
“Do you partner him with someone like Cody Walker or Jack Wighton? You go Luai for sure.
“I’m hearing that Brad Fittler is maybe leaning away from that, which is crazy. As a Queenslander I hope they don’t pick Luai.
“You throw Cleary and Luai as your No.7 and No.6 and Koroisau at No.9 there is the majority of your spine.
“Then you have Isaah Yeo who complements those players so well. They are playing that well at the moment you should have multiple players from Penrith.”
Originally published asCam Smith weighs in on ‘crazy’ NSW Blues spine debate
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