The ‘extra dimension’ gives the Yeo Blues a Cameron Smith-like appearance

It’s a huge challenge to compare someone to Cameron Smith but what I see from Isaiah Yor reminds me of Queensland’s greatest hooker of all time.

He has played only five origins for NSW but the level of his influence on that team in attack while performing an uninterrupted defensive job in the middle of the rack is similar to what he did for Smith Storm, Maroons and Australia. .

The Blues have a very good backbone but it is an amazing luxury for coach Brad Fitler to go to the first state next Wednesday in Sydney, having found Yeo as the “fifth beetle”.

I’m adding him to the NSW backbone because he brought that extra dimension and he’s playing better with Penrith now than ever before.

GOLD COAST, AUSTRALIA - July 14: Isaac Yook of the Blues will face the New South Wales Blues and the Queensland Maroons during three games of the 2021 State of Origin series at the Cbus Super Stadium on July 14, 2021 in Gold Coast, Australia.  (Photo by Chris Hyde / Getty Images)

(Photo by Chris Hyde / Getty Images)

I have watched him closely for several years but his development into a more traditional lock role for the Panthers and it is not only the skill with which he plays but also his toughness that makes him the perfect No.13.

He’s got a good size, a big motor and a really good game sense and origin is all about this – knowing what to do, when to do it. It is more important to know exactly when to go for a big drama, to know the type of tackle and to keep yourself in perfect position.

Yeo’s mid-third defensive performance is reminiscent of Smith’s long-standing influence on the Queensland team, and his ability to rock down won the Origin game.

Isaiah Yo

(Photo by Brett Hemings / Getty Images)

They both deal with their confidence as they choose to embark on their play activities. When you know how much work they have to do, how many minutes they have played and how much effort they have put in, they should always have shortness of breath but they both never look annoyed.

Yeo gets along very well across the field and is a kind of consistent, relentless player and a high staffer who is a good speaker around the team and you can see that he is a real leader on the field. He balances their attack by joining Nathan Cleary and Jerome Louis’ complement, James Tedesco and Damien Cook.

In an all-round game like his, it’s hard to find a forward with such a good hand that he can measure backwards or keep the line, as he did when scoring goals against the Cowboys last week. Try again soon.

The game can be won or lost

The back five fights will be a beautiful one and there has already been a lot written and said about choosing Daniel Tupau over Josh Ado-Carr in the Brad Fitler Wing and I can see why he has gone with the big guy as his back three.

I had to study Tupau in depth in my role with the Kangaroos when he plays for Tonga and when he brings the ball back to the kick reception he is almost the toughest player to defend against.

BRISBANE, AUSTRALIA - The Maroons pose with Cameron Smith and Billy Slater Shield on July 12, 2017 at the Suncorp Stadium during the three-game State of the Origin series between the Queensland Maroons and the New South Wales Blues.  (Photo by Mark Colby / Getty Images)

(Photo by Mark Colby / Getty Images)

Coming out of the yards he has got deceptive power and has great ability to bend lines, break tackles and create quick play-of-the-ball.

Rarely does he miss a kick in the air and he gets that relationship with Tedesco at fullback from club level. The Blues then found Brian Toe who is probably the man who finds Tupu the hardest to come off the back field with the speed of his feet and strong ball.

NSW will make their set with these three then they got Cotoni Stags and Jack Whitton to chime in on their backs as well. You will then throw the clearing kicking game at the end of the set and it will put a lot of pressure on the rear maroons.

Selwyn Cobbo is a remarkably young player but he has never been under Origin Blotorch in one and two games before. He and Xavier Coates have an advantage with their height but Billy Slater, as the coach, realizes that the main part of the role of the back three will gain momentum at the beginning of the set.

Less time, less space and some heavy collisions await them.

Cullen Ponga will work overtime with his wings to bring the ball out of the backfield and Queensland must run aggressively to get to the front foot.

Coates and Kobo will also benefit from the experience of Dan Gaggai and Valentine Holmes at the center, both of whom have played extensive wings at the representative level.

Billy’s baptism of fire

Somewhat like Mall Manninger when he first started coaching in Queensland in 2006, Billy is firmly entrenched with a lot of people who have struggled in the last few years but have brought in young talent like Jeremiah Nanai, Selwin Kobo, Ruben. Cotter and Patrick Carrigan all deserve to be elected.

In fact, he has moved on to a team that is fit, has players in good form, and for the most part, they are playing in the winning team, including the Storm, the Cowboys and the Broncos.

I like her confidence about not being an underdog and she has never seen NSW better than her team – if she could buy the team into it it would build a lot of confidence.

It is the first time since 2016 that the series has opened at Acre Stadium. Until the final minute it will be slippery, low scoring and tight.

(Photo by Cameron Spencer / Getty Images)

Latrell Mitchell and Tom Trbojevic played a key role in Queensland’s development last year so their absence gives the Maroons extra hope to be upset in a game. They have to be exceptional in almost every case to win.

And Billy needs to be spot on with his team’s final make-up, tactics, bench rotation, to make sure everyone is really clear about the approach they’re going to take.

The length of the series will probably take him to really find his legs. I remember when Wayne Bennett offered me a job in Queensland in 2004 he told me that coaching origins are three PS – prestige pressure and preparation.

Billy will do a great job but nothing will prepare you for the original when you debut as a player and the coaching will be the same.

It is draining emotionally and physically. It’s a huge occasion and a great honor to train your state but the intensity of it can get to you and you don’t know how to handle it until you’re immersed in it.

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