Maroons legend Cameron Smith has revealed why form fullback Ryan Papenhuyzen will struggle to make the Blues Origin side and believes a Sharks bolter is ahead of him.
Papenhuyzen is currently leading the Dally M medal race after a sparkling run of form to start the year and Smith admits he can’t do much more to earn an origin debut.
“To answer that question of, ‘What more can he do?’, it’s nothing,” Smith said on SEN 1170 The Captain’s Run.
Stream every game of every round of the 2022 NRL Telstra Premiership Season Live & Ad-Break Free During Play on Kayo. New to Kayo? Try 14-days free now.
“He can’t do anything more than he’s doing right now.
“He’s absolutely on fire, his game has most definitely gone to another level this year.
“He’s staying out on the field, which has helped him, he hasn’t had injuries … he’s had plenty of game time.
“The quick answer is, he can’t do anything more than he’s doing right now, and that’s all you can do.”
Smith believes the biggest roadblock for Papenhuyzen to break into the 17 is the fact that James Tedesco is the incumbent fullback and captain of the side.
“Now it’s up to Brad Fittler and the selection panel to select their team,” Smith said.
MORE NRL NEWS
PRESSURE GAUGE: Ponga excuse won’t wash and the dark horse emerging
BLOOD IN THE WATER: Walters contract clause exposed
BRONCOS $1M BLUNDER: How Reynolds could have had a star halves partner
DALLY M STATE OF PLAY: Unlikely fullback ahead of Teddy, Munster plays catch-up
“Do I think they’ll unseat Tedesco from the number one job? No I don’t, not right now.
“You’ve got to remember he’s the captain as well of that footy side. If you replace Tedesco with Papenhuyzen then you’ve got to find yourself another captain of the footy side – which they’re not short of in terms of leaders.
“But he’s your captain and he’s played extremely well across four or five Origin series’.”
Papenhuyzen has been put forward as a possible X-factor bench selection, but Smith warned his lack of versatility could hurt the Blues and his selection chances.
KFC SuperCoach is back! You could win the Holy Grail of Fantasy Footy plus $50k cash. play now
“People say he should be on the bench, well where should he play? Tedesco is not going to be taken off at any stage of the game unless he’s injured,” Smith explained.
“If he doesn’t get injured, does he (Papenhuyzen) play a minute of the game? Then you’re playing an Origin game with 16 players effectively.
“Is he big enough to play in the middle? I don’t think so. That’s where I think you’d lean towards a Nicho Hynes because he can play fullback for Tedesco … he can play anywhere in the backline.
Get all the latest NRL news, highlights and analysis delivered straight to your inbox with Fox Sports Sportmail. Sign up now!!
“I think that’s where they’d be leaning towards, but for Ryan Papenhuyzen and him saying, ‘I can play State of Origin’, there’s nothing else he can do.
“It’s just unlucky that he’s playing in the (same) position as the current captain.”
New South Wales’ State of Origin squad will be announced in late May ahead of Game I in Sydney on June 8.