The Blues’ new era has officially kicked off with 36 players set to gather at NSWRL headquarters this weekend for a two-day training camp.
New coach Michael Maguire has wasted no time in making big selection calls either with News Corprevealing Wests Tigers prop Stefano Utoikamanu has been left out of the squad.
Utoikamanu made his State of Origin debut last year and has history with Maguire given he signed the 23-year-old while he was head coach of the Tigers.
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According to News Corp, Utoikamanu is still a part of the Blues’ long-term plans and Maguire has reached out to him.
But his omission could down the track have ramifications on his future with the Tigers.
News Corp reports Utoikamanu, who has a mutual option for next year, actually has a clause in his contract which makes him a free agent if the Tigers fail to make finals this season.
But the clause is cancelled if he plays a total of three Origin games by the end of the season.
There are two other missing faces in Rabbitohs superstar Latrell Mitchell and Broncos prop Payne Haas, however they reportedly pulled out due to personal reasons — but are fully committed to this year’s series.
Maguire also reportedly reached out to Storm speedster Ryan Papenhuyzen, but he will remain in Melbourne to continue his recovery from an ankle injury.
The players included that are yet to make their Origin debut are Campbell Graham, Dylan Edwards, Cameron McInnes and Haumole Olakau’atu.
The Rabbitohs and Panthers have the most players invited with six each — including Mitchell — while the Dragons, Warriors, Storm, Dolphins and Titans have no representation.
The players won’t train during the camp. It is instead an opportunity to get together and get to know the new coaching staff which now includes Brett White, Matt King and John Cartwright.
Michael Maguire’s 36-man NSW squad, per News Corp: Josh Addo-Carr, Matt Burton, Stephen Crichton (all Bulldogs), Nicho Hynes, Cameron McInnes (both Sharks), Hudson Young (Raiders), Bradman Best, Tyson Frizell, Jacob Saifiti, Daniel Saifiti (all Knights), James Tedesco, Daniel Tupou, Joseph Suaali’i (all Roosters), Mitchell Moses, Clint Gutherson, Junior Paulo, Reagan Campbell-Gillard (all Rabbitohs), Reece Robson (Cowboys), Jake Trbojevic, Tom Trbojevic, Haumole Olakau’atu (all Sea Eagles), Cameron Murray, Latrell Mitchell*, Cody Walker, Damien Cook, Campbell Graham, Keaon Koloamatangi (all Rabbitohs), Payne Haas*, Kotoni Staggs, Api Koroisau, Dylan Edwards, Nathan Cleary, Jarome Luai, Brian To’o, Liam Martin, Isaah Yeo.
Originally published as Michael Maguire’s shock snub as players gather for two-day NSW camp