Addo-Carr races back into NSW Origin frame

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Brad Fittler has indicated that Josh Addo-Carr’s superb World Cup will play into his hopes of a NSW Home State recall, saying the flier plays much better now than when neglected for the Blues.

Fittler’s decision to leave Addo-Carr out of this year’s Origin series was a talking point in NSW’s 2-1 defeat, even with Brian To’o and Daniel Tupou performing well on the wing .

Upon his return to representative football, Addo-Carr scored a record 12 tries in five games for the Kangaroos, regularly opening play with his speed.

Fittler was also impressed with the Canterbury winger’s off-field work after that and his height were among the main reasons Tupou was picked ahead of him last season.

When asked if Addo-Carr had proven NSW wrong, Fittler welcomed the return of the 27-year-old.

“He’s been fantastic (at the World Cup),” Fittler said as he oversaw a program of talented indigenous NSWRL athletes on Friday.

“What he did was he proved he was the best person for the job. He was in midfield and didn’t let many in.

“One thing that was really strong was his defense and he carried the ball out of trouble.

“He was one of the best players in the Australian team.”

The Origin I in Adelaide remains in six-and-a-half months, but Fittler suggested World Cup form in the representative arena would be considered next year.

The fact that Fittler expects the Bulldogs to perform better in 2023 is also significant, having made it clear this year that he wants players from winning teams.

“He was playing better in November than he was in March,” Fittler said of Addo-Carr.

“If he takes that in the off-season and then plays for Canterbury… they have a new couple of players and all of a sudden they could be winning games.

“It always helps when you win games, and he goes back to a club that I think will win more games because it looks like he’s going to be stronger.

“Everyone wants to see Josh play in the rep arena where you can see he takes the game to another level.”

Meanwhile, Fittler said he found criticism of Nathan Cleary’s exit strange, after the NSW half-back won the Kangaroos’ No.7 jersey in Australia’s Cup win of the world.

“He doesn’t care a lot. For one of the best players in our game, he seems to get a lot of flak, and I don’t know why,” Fittler said.

“He’s not a Johnathan Thurston or an Andrew Johns, he’s a Nathan Cleary.

“Sometimes he doesn’t stand out, but I’ve never seen a game where he doesn’t give 100 per cent or he doesn’t nail the details that people don’t see.”

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