Lone wolf role | Clearer mind for series opener – Koroisau

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Api Koroisau has a big role to play in the State of Origin opener. Picture: NRL

Blues hooker Api Koroisau believes Brad Fittler’s call to go with one dummy half in the Ampol State of Origin series opener will allow him to mentally be better prepared during the match.

It is not the first time Fittler has gone with one hooker in his Origin I side after overlooked former Blue Damien Cook started in last year’s series opener which resulted in a 16-10 loss at Accor Stadium.

NSW assistant coach Greg Alexander told SENLeague this week that Blues hierarchy felt like a two-hooker combination for this year’s series wouldn’t suit the overall structure of the side, leading to Koroisau earning the nod.

Koroisau, who sympathised with Cook’s omission, said the overall decision would give him a clearer mind when he takes the field.

“Half the battle when there is another hooker named on the bench is you know someone is there to take it from you (during a game),” Koroisau said.

“But when you know you’re the only one you just go hard and you know nothing is coming (to replace you). Mentally you go for as long as you need to, you never really stop in these games.

“I think he (Cook) been in great form and playing great footy so definitely feel for him but in terms of pressure I’ve got to understand it’s all been outside noise more than anything else.

“I don’t have to reinvent the wheel, just have to play my part for the team. I’ll back myself to do a job for the boys.”

Koroisau will reunite with former Panthers premiership-winning teammates Jarome Luai and Nathan Cleary in the spine and expects the trio to take little time and pick up where they left off lifting last year’s Telstra Premiership trophy.

A State of Origin series win, however, still remains a feat yet to be achieved for the combination despite them all featuring at some point during the victorious 2021 campaign.

“There’s a lot of achievements in my lifetime and Origin is the next one I want to tick off my list,” Koroisau said.

“I came in for Game Three in 2021 when the series was already won, but we lost the game so at the end of the day I haven’t been part of a winning series from the start and look forward to crossing that off.

“I think I know these guys pretty well and how they like to play so I’ll be looking to rekindle that relationship on the field with our combinations.

“I’m confident we can fall back into what we need to. They’re such a good bunch of boys and we made some history together.”

The first of three matches will be played next Wednesday night at the Adelaide Oval.