Wade Graham has moved on from his State of Origin disappointment – just as NSW coach Laurie Daley has moved on from Graham, it seems.
Daley openly admitted in the immediate aftermath of Graham being banned from Origin II for a high tackle on Johnathan Thurston that the Cronulla back-rower may never get another shot at playing interstate football.
Now the Blues coach is challenging Graham’s replacement, St George Illawarra powerhouse Tyson Frizell, to slam the door shut on the suspended Shark returning for a possible series decider in Sydney.
“You never know when you’re going to get a chance to play Origin. When one door closes, another door opens for someone else and Tyson gets his opportunity,” Daley said on Fox Sports’ NRL 360.
“He’s certainly good enough to be part of our squad, Wade, but it will depend on how people play.
“But while we’re sad Wade’s missing, we’ve got to be excited – and we are excited – that Tyson’s a part of the squad.
“He’s been in and around the squad for the past two years. He’s been in camp on probably three occasions, so he deserves his chance.”
Daley said Graham had copped his ban on the chin and been a positive influence on the Blues since returning to their Coffs Harbour base on Thursday morning with Frizell.
“He’s been terrific. He was obviously disappointed (to be suspended), as we all were, but the decision was made and he’s certainly moved on from that,” the coach said.
“He trained with us and was his jovial self, but I’m sure deep down he’s still hurting a touch.”
With Graham out, Daley plans on starting Greg Bird in the back row with Frizell coming off the bench in his Origin debut at Suncorp Stadium next Wednesday night.
The Blues are hoping Bird’s added creativity can provide more tryscoring opportunities after Queensland edged NSW 6-4 in Origin I.
“We need to score some points,” Daley said.
“We weren’t happy with how many we scored in game one. I’m sure Queensland weren’t happy with the amount of points they scored as well – it was one try all.
“Our attack will get better as the series goes on. We’re confident that what we’re doing is the right thing.”