Panthers hooker Apisai Koroisau is set to make a huge return into the Blues side for the must-win Game II clash in Perth.
After Penrith’s huge 40-6 win over the Warriors, stand-in coach Cameron Ciraldo revealed that all six of the Panthers who took part in the series opener have been selected, as well as Koroisau.
Koroisau will likely slot into the No.14 jersey, with Stephen Crichton moving into Wighton’s vacant centres spot.
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Cleary, Luai, Martin, To’o and Yeo will also line-up in a sky blue jersey hoping to seek revenge after a disappointing performance in the series opener.
“We believe that Api Koroisau has been recalled into the Blues,” Fox League’s Yvonne Sampson said.
“For Api it is a wonderful moment.”
“You’d imagine NSW Blues selectors are trying to counteract the Ben Hunt and Harry Grant combination because when Harry Grant come on after 25 minutes he turned the game,” Cooper Cronk said.
“Maybe that is a ploy they want to use with Apisai Koroisau.”
In Fox League’s post-match coverage, vision of the Panthers dressing room when the news broke was shown, with the whole squad erupting into cheers, swarming their reliable dummy-half.
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“Really good stuff, you can see the support from the Panthers, it means that Api Koroisau makes it seven Panthers who will represent NSW,” Sampson said.
“You don’t do that for someone who is in the reserves or just joining the squad, wow seven players, you could almost just put the whole team in and they’d give it a shake,” Cronk said.
“Api was just one really important cog of the Panthers machine tonight,”
Fox League experts Benji Marshall and Cooper Cronk explained that Koroisau is exactly the type of player you want to play alongside in Origin and will now get the chance to add to his singular game in 2021.
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“He has been consistent for the last few years for the Panthers, done a great job, he is tough through the middle, makes all his tackles, if you run straight at him he will put you on your backside,” Benji Marshall said.
“In that Origin level he is the type of guy you want as well.”
“He is just a point of difference too, he is a ducker, weaver and a little bit different for the forwards to tackle,” Cronk said.
“So if you start with Damien Cook who gets out real quick, then you have another point of difference to tackle Api Koroisau, bit like Ben Hunt and Harry Grant.”
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