Welcome to ‘The Fair Dinkum Department’, where we dissect the biggest debates to come out of the last weekend of NRL action and assess whether they’re a case of ‘real’ or ‘ridiculous’.
Here’s how we’re seeing things after round 12.
The Broncos should grant Payne Haas’ request for an immediate release
Real or ridiculous? Ridiculous
When the big front-rower trundled it up for the first time against the Titans at Suncorp, the Brisbane faithful made their feelings perfectly clear.
Still in shock at the news that Haas had requested an immediate release from his contract, boos echoed around the stadium upon each one of his carries.
“I’m usually not one to get rattled, but when I heard the boos coming out tonight and when I got onto the ball it rattled me a bit,” Haas said during his post-match interview with Darren Lockyer.
However, Broncos’ legend Corey Parker had already lit the fuse in the hours leading up to the contest, when he went on the offensive against Haas and his management.
“This player, while he’s a terrific player, at no stage in the Broncos history has one player been bigger than the club,” Parker said on Fox League.
“I would let Payne Haas go right now, right now. I would let him go.
“If you don’t want to play for the Broncos, don’t play. It’s just ridiculous after what the club has done for him.”
But now that Parker’s blood pressure has eased slightly and the fans rage has subsided, is it really wise for the rejuvenated Broncos to release their best performer?
The 22-year-old is signed until the end of the 2024 season, which gives the hierarchy plenty of time to mend relations and sort out the prop’s long-term future at the club.
In a move of brinkmanship that was designed to get him the most money possible, Haas and his agents have come out of it looking ‘selfish’.
But while there is still a chance at keeping the game’s best forward, it would be in Brisbane’s best interests to at least attempt to broker a deal.
If they don’t, the sight of sending Haas off to Sydney – where he could become the new face of a club for the next decade – will be enough to warrant a lifetime of boos in Queensland.
Jack Wighton being picked in the centres for NSW is a mistake
Real or ridiculous? Real
There would have been a moment in Origin last year when Kurt Capewell just wanted to take the ball and go home.
Every time a NSW attack was launched, it was him they were targeting as Tom Trbojevic ran riot.
The obvious caveat here is that Capewell was facing a superhuman version of Turbo. Yet, the point remains. A player who is selected out of their natural position is already at a slight disadvantage in the Origin arena.
Centre is a specialist role and brings with it plenty of responsibility in defence. In fact, Trbojevic himself was found out when Capewell slipped off his lunging tackle to notch a try of his own.
So, why would Brad Fittler eschew Stephen Crichton – who is a traditional centre – in favour of playing Wighton there?
The five-eighth’s selection could prove to be a mistake, especially when they have a player in Crichton who is well-versed in the position. The Penrith star also makes the most sense as he has built club combinations with most of his inside and outside men.
The Raider has struggled – as Clint Gutherson did in the same series – in the unfamiliar position before. A repeat of his defensive fragilities against a potentially red-hot Queensland could prove unsurmountable for the Blues.
MORE: What we liked and disliked from every match in round 12
Josh Addo-Carr’s NSW career is over
Real or ridiculous? Ridiculous
When the time comes for both states to name their squads, there are always casualties, near misses and selections that leave many scratching their heads.
Sure, Angus Crichton missing the cut for Origin was surprising, while Jake Trbojevic losing his stranglehold over a jersey was a little less so. Keaon Koloamatangi and Campbell Graham can certainly feel hard done by.
However, the biggest shock delivered by Fittler and his selectors on Sunday night was the omission of Josh Addo-Carr.
Not only was the winger not chosen in the 17, there was also no room for him in the extended 22-man squad. He was squeezed out by Joseph Suaalii.
It appears that NSW’s progression plan is already in place with the teenage Rooster. And with Brian To’o still only 23-years-old, the future prospects for the Bulldog are not looking bright.
Fittler’s comments in the aftermath of the decision will not have reassured him either about his chances down the track.
“Well I’m surprised that people would be surprised,” Fittler told 9News, when discussing his preference for Daniel Tupou over Addo-Carr.
Yet all is not lost. Addo-Carr has been a mainstay of a NSW team which has won three of the last four series, scoring 10 tries along the way. This places him second on the all-time try-scorers list for the Blues.
Having paid the price for joining a team which struggles for points, Addo-Carr will now have to return to the form he showed in Melbourne that made him such a NSW stalwart to begin with.