Cotric in frame for Blues
New NSW Blues coach Brad Fittler has identified Canberra left wing Nick Cotric as a genuine contender to make his representative debut this year.
Fittler has a vacancy in that role as he takes charge of the Blues, and Cotric is someone he feels could fit the bill.
He named the Raiders flyer in his emerging Blues squad last week, having already said he was a State of Origin bolter when he was appointed to replace Laurie Daley a month ago.
He was most probably the pick of the left wingers last year in the competition.Brad Fittler
Fittler says Cotric was the pick of the NRL's left wings last season, having burst onto the scene and played all 24 games for the Green Machine.
He finished the campaign with 16 tries and was named as the NRL's rookie of the year.
Having made such a big impression at the age of 18 in first grade, Fittler believes there will be a much greater focus on Cotric next season.
But he regards him as a potential debutant when the Blues take on Queensland in the first Origin clash in Melbourne in June.
"He was most probably the pick of the left wingers last year in the competition," said Fittler. "It was no fluke he won rookie of the year, but people are going to watch him a lot more and there'll be more focus on him; it's about him just to keep improving."
The vacancy on the left wing has arisen after Bulldogs winger Brett Morris, who played in the position in all three games last year, retired from representative football.
The main contender to replace him will be Melbourne Storm flyer Josh Addo-Carr, who scored a league-leading 23 tries on the left as part of a premiership-winning campaign.
Rabbitohs winger Alex Johnston, who also spent time at fullback, scored 22 and Cotric was third-highest among left-sided finishers who are eligible for the Blues.
Fittler watched Cotric grow up through the NSW junior representative system and was impressed by how few errors he made during his maiden NRL season.
"He needs to evolve now because people are going to watch him more, [but] I don't see it as a problem at all," said the coach.
NSW are 1.14 to win the State of Origin series, with Queensland 6.50.
The Blues are 2.25 to win the series 3-0.
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