Hopoate ahead of Tedesco, Moylan: Fittler

The electrifying speed of James Tedesco, or the slick hands of Matt Moylan?

According to NSW City Origin coach Brad Fittler, his first choice would not be either.

He would opt for Canterbury fullback Will Hopoate for the traditional fixture against NSW Country in Tamworth on Sunday, May 8.

However, as Hopoate’s decision not to play or train on Sundays due to his religious beliefs rules him out, Fittler appears set to opt for either of NSW Blues hopefuls Tedesco and Moylan.

“I’d be picking Will before all of them based on this year and how strong he looks,” Fittler told AAP.

“I think James is fantastic and Matty’s playing well, but Will’s been there before and he’s playing as good as he’s ever played. I love the way he’s playing at the moment.”

Fittler is expected to sit down with Laurie Daley next week as the NSW coach amps up his preparations for the State of Origin series opener on June 1.

One of the critical questions surrounding the make-up of Daley’s NSW team is who plays at fullback, with Tedesco, Hopoate and Moylan all putting pressure on incumbent Josh Dugan.

With Dugan likely to be named in the centres for Australia in the Test against New Zealand on May 6, Fittler’s City fullback choice is likely to give Blues fans and insight into who Daley views as Dugan’s main competition for the NSW jumper.

Penrith star Moylan wore the City No.1 with Tedesco on the wing in last year’s defeat to Country last year, while the Wests Tigers fullback claimed the jumper for the drawn match the year before.

Hopoate has just two more NRL games before he sits out three straight Sunday games for the Bulldogs, before returning for their round 13 match against Cronulla – two days before Origin I.

By then the Blues will already be in camp.

Fittler said he too was keen to find out Daley’s thoughts.

“It’s a tough one. James (Tedesco) got knocked about a bit the other day (against Cronulla), while Matty (Moylan) is just come back. Loz might have a bit of a gauge on it. I haven’t spoken to him yet,” he said.

“I gather he’s got a lot on but I’m expecting to sit down with him next week.”

The City v Country match will be played during the representative round in two weeks, with the teams to named after next week’s NRL round nine.

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