NSW coach Laurie Daley says Blues fans shouldn’t expect Will Hopoate to waltz back into State of Origin this year as the Parramatta centre continues to reacquaint himself with the game after two seasons away.
Brad Fittler last week indicated his desire to fast-track Hopoate back into his NSW City Origin side but that thinking doesn’t follow further up the NSW coaching chain of command.
After three games back in the NRL following two years out on his Mormon Mission, Hopoate has been mentioned as an Origin bolter but Daley said the former NSW representative wasn’t yet back in the selection frame.
“He has been steady and you can understand that, two years out of the game,” Daley said on Wednesday.
“It’s fascinating three games in and everyone wants to talk about Will being available for State Of Origin. That’s certainly not on my radar.
“Will needs to be playing good football and in 10 weeks’ time who knows where he may be. He may be putting up his hand to play State of Origin.
“But where I stand at the moment, and this is for all players, we just have to wait and see and hopefully they will have their form together and sustain that for a number of weeks out from State of Origin and we will make a decision then.”
Daley said he wouldn’t rush anyone into his side if he didn’t think they were ready for the State of Origin cauldron.
“In terms of fast-tracking, we won’t fast-track anyone if they are not ready,” he said.
“I don’t think anyone should play Origin if they are not ready to go.
“We may fast-track them into a City or Country jersey, and that for us that will be one of our priorities, to give young players coming through a run in that game.”
Daley was speaking at a NSWRL announcement that the grand finals of NSW competitions, the Sydney Shield, the Ron Massey Cup and the NSW Cup, would be played at Allianz Stadium on the Sunday before the NRL grand final.