Tyson Frizell once believed his time in the sky blue jersey had come to an end but after rediscovering his best form for the Knights this season, the veteran forward is ready to return to the State of Origin arena.
Having not represented the Blues since 2020, the back-rower said being named to take the field in next Wednesday’s series opener would come as an opportunity to relive the debut feeling he felt in 2016.
“It feels like it has been a while, kind of feels like a fresh debut again,” Frizell said on Monday.
“It did cross my mind (Origin days were over) but there was always hope there that if I played some good footy there might be an opportunity.
“You never go into a season thinking ‘I need to play Origin’. It’s about playing well and then putting yourself into the frame.
There's probably times there where I wasn't too sure if the opportunity would come again.Tyson Frizell NSW Blues forward
Having scored four tries and averaged over 30 tackles and 98 run metres in ten games for the Knights this season, Frizell's name has recently been thrown around in Origin selection discussions.
Seeing a missed call on his phone after touching down in Newcastle following Saturday’s match in Coffs Harbour, the 227-game veteran said news of his selection came as “a nice surprise”.
Frizell finds the line
“I wasn't expecting it at all, I guess you see speculation whether could be a chance but I hadn't heard anything prior to that,” he said.
“I was just back in Newy trying to play some good footy and I had a missed call when I touched down back home from Coffs Harbour.
“I gave him (Freddy) a call and he told me the good news.
“I was hopeful that it was good news, but it could have gone another way and he might have said that I was in the frame but they went the other way. I wasn’t getting my hopes up at all. It was a nice surprise.”
Frizell crashes over on the right edge
At 31, Frizell is the oldest member of the 19-man squad named on Monday, but having watched from the sideline as a Blues fan in recent years, the former Australian international said he is hungrier than ever to help New South Wales reclaim the Origin shield in 2023.
“There’s a lot of hunger there, I’ve missed out for a few years because of a few different reasons, so it’s good to be back,” he said.
“It was difficult to watch because I’m a big fan of New South Wales and I want them to do well.
“I get the opportunity now to hopefully influence the result in some sort of way and hopefully I can hold my position.”
With young forwards Tevita Pangai Junior and Hudson Young the new faces in Brad Fittler’s Game One squad, Frizell’s experience on the Origin stage will be a valuable asset to the Blues forward pack.
With several back-rowers within the squad, the Wollongong junior said he is comfortable in playing on both an edge and in the middle for the Blues.
Young on dream Origin debut
"Tevita and Hudson are two guys that are new to the team and are probably really excited to be a part of the team and it'll be nice to train alongside those guys and then, hopefully put on the blue jersey with them on Wednesday," he said.
“There’s a lot of boys that can play both middle and an edge that are quite dynamic, Tevita, Hudson and Cameron Murray are all there and are all great players.
“I’m not too sure how it will all go but it’s not unfamiliar territory for me playing in the middle, I’ve done it in the past in Origin and I’ve done it at club level as well.”
Match: Maroons v Blues
Game 1 -
Venue: Adelaide Oval, Adelaide