Api Koroisau can’t be sure he’ll hit the pitch in the Ampol State of Origin series opener next Wednesday, but he’s content to miss the selection for Penrith and play a role for the Blues. he had to.
The dummy half of the Panthers livewire is the 18th man for the Blues at Townsville, which means he won’t be available for the exhausted Panthers in their quest to go undefeated on Friday night.
Panthers coach Ivan Cleary delivered his selection news to Koroisau on Sunday morning before crafting his own plan to fill seven vacancies for the Wests Tigers clash at Leichhardt Oval.
Cleary will likely turn to Mitch Kenny to replace Koroisau on hooker.
“It’s a sticky situation, especially knowing that we have so many Panthers boys who don’t play, but also the camp itself is easy to get in no matter how we travel,” Koroisau told NRL.com.
“It’s one of those opportunities that you take with both hands. Ivan told me about not being able to play this Friday, so I knew that was the arrangement as soon as I got to camp and I was okay with that. “
Because Origin isn’t driven by victory, it’s fueled by rivalry
NSW coach Brad Fittler told NRL.com on Monday that he gave Koroisau the cover role for Damien Cook in case something happens to the starting hooker.
The only way for Koroisau to enter the field in Origin I is if three players fail a HIA during the match, or if a player is ruled out by an act of foul play that results in the rejection or expulsion of a player. Maroons.
“You don’t want anyone to get injured or come onto the pitch like that, but the role has changed a lot over the past few months,” Koroisau said.
“You never know what the odds are of going out, so you just have to prepare like you’re going to play and be ready.
“Personally, whether I’m playing or not, I’m just looking forward to the deafening roar. That’s what I’m imagining right now and I’m up for it.”
Koroisau is one of six players on the NSW squad who has international experience for other countries including Fiji, Samoa and Italy.
Panthers five-eighth Jarome Luai has represented Samoa on five occasions, while Koroisau is a veteran Fijian with 16 test caps since 2013.
Tariq Sims (Fiji), Daniel Saifiti (Fiji), Junior Paulo (Samoa) and James Tedesco (Italy) have also played for other countries before.
Home state eligibility rules have tightened lately, but players have the option to play for the state in which they were born or in which they played their junior rugby league.
Episode 14 – Original I Teams Named, Venue Changed to Townsville
“I am a very proud Fijian and would like to keep this connection to my culture at all times, but I was born and played my junior rugby league in Sydney and am a Blue from start to finish,” said Koroisau.
“A lot of boys were born here and have grown up here all their lives. Being able to represent your culture too, it’s great to be able to have that mix.
“These are the games of the year where everyone bunkers and walks around on TV.
“I wasn’t a big football fan growing up but you always watched Origin no matter where you lived.”