Dragon McInnes a shot at NSW Origin debut

Dragons captain Cameron McInnes has been named in an initial NSW Origin squad by coach Brad Fittler.
Dragons captain Cameron McInnes has been named in an initial NSW Origin squad by coach Brad Fittler.

Cameron McInnes is one step closer to his State of Origin debut after being one of five players from outside the finals named in NSW's squad.

Brad Fittler on Sunday night confirmed McInnes, Payne Haas, Tyson Frizell and Jake and Tom Trbojevic would be part of his 27-man squad for the series.

The Blues will continue to name players as their NRL season ends, giving them notice to remain fit even while outside of the bubble before camp begins on October 19.

It means at this stage Zac Lomax and David Nofoaluma have been denied shots at a debut, while Paul Vaughan and Tariq Sims have been dropped.

It's believed the Blues will however tap some players on the shoulder to say they could be brought in to the group if injuries hit during the finals series.

"This season has been extremely challenging for the game," Fittler said.

"I believe they all will play a role in helping NSW defend the State of Origin Shield and I'm looking forward to working with them when we go into camp."

Queensland will follow a similar method, and are expected to name their initial players after a series of medical assessments this week.

McInnes' versatility gives him every chance to make an Origin debut.

While Damien Cook will likely be the first-choice hooker and Api Koroisau an alternative option, McInnes gives utility value if used off the bench.

He has impressed this year while playing mostly at lock for St George Illawarra, remaining tough in the middle while still offering plenty of play-making opportunities.

Meanwhile the decision not to pick Lomax suggests Fittler will include either Stephen Crichton or Campbell Graham in his squad.

Both remain in the finals at Penrith and South Sydney, and would likely be needed for back-up if Tom Trbojevic is not fit for the series opener.

Jack Wighton would then be expected to hold his position on the other side at right centre.

Australian Associated Press