The Parramatta forward has been part of Brad Fittler's set-up before, in 2019, but never took the field. Matterson has played on an edge and through the middle for the Eels but has come into his own when coming off the bench this year. His versatility will be a major asset as Fittler plans his bench rotations.
Last featured for the Blues in 2020 and has been one of the most dependable players for the Sydney Roosters this season. The Tongan international is averaging north of 150 running metres per game and his work out of the back field will be valuable. Tupou has benefited from Josh Addo-Carr's indifferent start to life at Canterbury and his aerial prowess should help negate some of Queensland's threat under the high ball.
Staggs has been unlucky to miss Origin selection in the past with injuries. He is expected to play at right centre where has been playing in Brisbane's resurgence this season. Always known for his attacking prowess, Staggs' defensive game has come on in leaps and bounds in the 12 games since his return from an ACL injury. He will partner another Blues rookie in Panthers centre Stephen Crichton, while South Sydney's Campbell Graham wasn't far behind either.
The Parramatta prop last played for the Blues in 2018 and has missed out through lack of form, injury or other players outperforming him in recent seasons. He began 2022 with a bang and hasn't looked back since, with his front-row partnership with Junior Paulo one of the keys to Parramatta's form.
It wasn't so long ago Hynes was running around in the feeder clubs of the Melbourne Storm, but after taking his game to another level at Cronulla in 2022 he looks primed to make an impact off the bench. Hynes covers every position in the backline and has played a variety of roles for the Sharks and the Storm. The only question would be whether he can fill in at hooker should anything happen to Damien Cook during the game.
The big Newcastle prop has been one of the mainstays of Fittler's set-up in recent years but a knee injury has led to his omission. There's an argument that he may have been dropped anyway, given he has been underperforming in a struggling Knights side.
Addo-Carr has been a must-pick under Fittler and the dreadful form of new club Canterbury has led to his non-selection. Despite the Bulldogs' woes, Addo-Carr still has six tries in 10 games. If there is an injury to Tupou or Brian To'o, Addo-Carr seems the logical next pick.
A regular selection in Fittler's regime, Trbojevic has been used as a prop, a lock and impact forward in previous series. He has yet to find top gear this year for Manly and is a victim of circumstance. The Blues are blessed with more damaging running forwards and those with better ball-playing skills, and Trbojevic is somewhere in the middle.
Burton has yet to play Origin but has shown his versatility for Penrith and Canterbury over the last two seasons. There is an argument to say had he opted to stay at Penrith he would have made his Origin bow this year, given how strongly he finished the 2021. Canterbury's ugly start to the season has not helped his cause.
Crichton has been a reliable selection since making his Origin bow in 2018 but the Roosters back-rower has been usurped by Matterson for the role of the forward who can cover the middle and the edge. His positions have altered this year at club level and that may have cost him the chance to show Fittler he deserved a recall.
Australian Associated Press
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