Monday, June 17, 2024

“We might create one”: Slater drops hint over Cobbo’s role for Game 1

Must read

Billy Slater has suggested a role might yet be created for Selwyn Cobbo as he prepares to play the State of Origin opener off the bench.

In what was seen as a surprise call, Slater has opted for North Queensland Cowboys‘ winger Murray Taulagi on the wing for the series opener, with Cobbo relegated to a bench role.

It means Cobbo and Harry Grant are both on the bench, leaving only two middle forwards – Moeaki Fotuaika and J’maine Hopgood – on the pine for Queensland.

David Fifita was also dropped, with the likelihood now being that second-rowers Jaydn Su’A and Jeremiah Nanai will both need to play big minutes.

» NSW Game 1 squad
» QLD Game 1 squad

Despite that, Slater admitted Cobbo was in the side both with a role in mind, and as back cover given Queensland’s injury history over the last two years.

“Four of the six last Origin games we’ve had to replace an outside back, so certainly a bit of cover,” Slater said during a press-conference on Monday morning.

“At the same time Selwyn can play multiple positions. We might even create one for him, who knows.

“We’ll build that plan as the week goes on. We’ve only seen the surface of what Selwyn can do.”

Slater admitted Cobbo may also be used as a bench forward.

Queensland have had wild success playing backs in the middle of the field either side of halftime in previous years, with champions such as Kalyn Ponga and Cooper Cronk among the most notable to fill the role.

“Selwyn is a wonderful player. He’s a big lad, he’s very capable,” Slater said.

“We will build what’s best for the team… but that might be taken out of our hands (with injuries).”

Cobbo has been playing at centre for the Broncos this season after spending last season on the wing, and could fill any of the three back five positions if Queensland do suffer an injury, with Ben Hunt in the side and able to play in the halves if need be, providing plenty of cover for the Maroons.

Game 1 will be played on Wednesday, June 5.

Latest article