Blues James Tedesco and Damien Cook call for faith in beaten NSW


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Tedesco and Cook, however, are both angling for NSW selectors to stick with the same team before travelling across the Nullarbor.

“I think everyone here deserves to go again,” Tedesco said. “We’ve created a bond on and off the field and it obviously takes a bit of time with the combinations.

“I don’t see a reason for anyone to get dropped. It could have gone the other way. We could have scored right at the end there and everyone would have been cheering for us. That’s just footy I guess.

“It’s a do-or-die game for us [in Perth]. We know there’s a lot of improvement in us. We’ll definitely do a lot of homework. We’ll be much more desperate over there. If we win there we’ve got a home game in Sydney and that’s definitely good motivation for us.”

A truncated lead-up could force Fittler’s hand at the selection table given it will be a shorter preparation with travel across the continent factored in as the Blues try to become the first NSW team since 2005 to win a series after losing the first game.

I don’t see a reason for anyone to get dropped

James Tedesco

Walker’s South Sydney teammate Adam Reynolds has virtually been wiped from calculations after suffering a fracture in his back, releasing some of the pressure on Cleary who was again steady rather than spectacular for NSW.

Asked about Walker’s polarising Origin debut, Cook said: “I thought he was really good. He did what he had to do and I think it was the idea to take Cody off, bring Jack [Wighton] on and then get Cody back on at the end of the game to try to win it for us. We probably didn’t do our part to put him in the right position.

“What he did [on Wednesday night] I thought he was really good. He wasn’t nervous or overplaying his hand. He was doing what he does every week at club level. He’ll be back there for game two no doubt.

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“Providing everyone is fit I believe [we will have the same 17]. I can’t speak on behalf of Freddy [though]. Everyone has to go back to club footy and do their job there. If everyone’s fit I’d like to think he will probably keep the same side.”

Tedesco and Cook shredded Queensland’s middle during an electric first half, but were almost powerless after the break under siege from a Maroon tide.

“Me and Cooky felt like we were playing some really good footy in that first half and we were searching for it in the second half – and it just wasn’t there,” Tedesco said.

“I don’t know if it was a lack of quick play-the-ball. It’s hard to put a reason on it. It was coming as fluently as in the first half I guess.”

Adam Pengilly is a Sports reporter for The Sydney Morning Herald.

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