By Chris Kennedy (NRL.com)
St George Illawarra Dragons second-rower Tyson Frizell is keen to fulfil a dream after being named in the NSW Blues team for the second State of Origin fixture against the Queensland Maroons at Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane on Wednesday.
The local Corrimal Cougars junior is poised to make his debut after being named on the interchange by Blues Head Coach Laurie Daley on Thursday.
Frizell was originally named in the squad midweek in lieu of Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks second-rower Wade Graham who failed to overturn his suspension by the NRL Judiciary on Wednesday.
Frizell says he is more than comfortable slotting straight into the left-side role if that is where Daley chooses to use him.
When news first broke that Graham was unsuccessful in challenging his hit on Cowboys playmaker Johnathan Thurston from Monday night's game, Daley said he would consider Frizell as a straight swap or potentially starting him from the bench with veteran Greg Bird to start on the left.
Speaking to media after arriving in Blues camp in Coffs Harbour, Frizell – usually a right-side player at club level – said he had started his career as a left-edge forward before shifting out of necessity after moving to the Dragons.
"[Daley] will probably sit me down at training and tell me what his plans are for myself. I don't know what his ideas are but I'd be happy to [start from the bench] for the team," Frizell said.
"I started my career on the left hand side. When I moved to the Dragons that's when I started playing on the right side. It's not foreign territory for myself and I've been playing a bit in the middle too. So I'd be pretty comfortable with that."
Something else that isn't foreign to Frizell is training under Daley with the NSW squad after serving as 18th man just three weeks ago for Origin I – a role he also filled in Game I last year. Having missed just a single training session this time around, Frizell is hopeful it won't take him long to get up to speed with the systems.
"It's been the third or fourth time in camp now so I don't think too much would have changed. Hopefully I'll just slot in straight into training," Frizell said.
The Wales international had been one of the candidates to replace the injured Boyd Cordner after the Origin I players' player was ruled out with injury before Graham – a specialist left-edge forward – was chosen as a like-for-like replacement.
Frizell said he didn't let the double disappointment of missing out on both Origin I and II get to him after also being a late cull from the squad of 19 originally named for Game One.
"It was disappointing. But at the same time I knew what Laurie wanted to do and that was stick with a specialist left-side player," Frizell said.
"[Graham] has that combination there with James Maloney, so it was probably an easier decision to get Wade in there."
Frizell had to share a plane up to Coffs Harbour with the disappointed Graham as the Shark returned to camp and while he felt the need to keep a lid on his excitement, Graham's support made the experience easier than it could have been.
"I spoke to Wade as soon as I saw him at the airport. I feel for Wade. It's not nice seeing something like that happen. He's in the position I am wanting to play State of Origin and to be stripped away from him like that for something I didn't think was too bad at all," Frizell said.
"Me and Wade go way back. Since I [made] my debut [at Cronulla in 2011] I've been playing with Wade – we've got a bit of friendship there.
"He was pumped for me so it's nice to see that. I really felt for him but it means a lot to me for Wade to be open and say 'all the best mate; you deserve it.' That's the kind of guy Wade is.
"I really felt for him but it's something you don't want to be too over-excited about. I didn't want to show too much emotion about. It probably wasn't the right thing to do.
"But he was so happy for me so that made everything a bit easier."