Campese backs Austin for Origin

Former New South Wales stand-off Terry Campese believes his replacement in the number 6 jumper at the Canberra Raiders, Blake Austin, was unlucky to miss out on selection for State of Origin.

NSW and Queensland meet in Game I of the series on Wednesday at Sydney’s ANZ Stadium. Austin has been in electric form for the Raiders after arriving from the Wests Tigers at the start of this year, following Campese’s move to Hull KR.

The tall 24 year-old has played in every game of the season and is Canberra’s top try-scorer with six. A strong ball-runner, Austin has also made eight line-breaks in the NRL and claimed a hat-trick of tries on debut for NSW City against NSW Country.

Ex-Blues enforcer Mark Geyer has described Austin as a future NSW captain.

The Blues have controversially gone with two halfbacks in Mitchell Pearce and Trent Hodkinson as their two halves for Game I.

“I thought Blake Austin might have been a bit of a chance,” Campese admitted.

“He’s been in terrific form for the Raiders and he’s the type of player that can score points from anywhere.

“He’s been carving it up so I thought he was a bit of unlucky not to be picked. Only on Wednesday can tell if it was the right decision or not.”

NSW will go into the match with a number of key players from last year’s series unavailable, including skipper Paul Gallen, Jarryd Hayne, Greg Bird and Brett Morris.

Both Anthony Watmough and Luke Lewis have also been overlooked with two players to make their debuts in Josh Jackson and David Klemmer.

Campese, who played one Origin game back in 2009, will be backing the Blues to get the job done.

“I’ll be cheering NSW on,” the 30-year old said.

“We’ve definitely got youth behind us and a few new faces in the team. You look at Queensland and they’ve got maybe one guy on debut, they’ve all played together before.

“So it’s a bit of experience versus the young fellas.”

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