Peter Sterling has called for a Penrith Panthers star to earn a NSW Blues call-up – and he thinks a teammate could be a bolter.
Daniel Tupou and Josh Addo-Carr are the Blues’ incumbent wingers but To’o and fit-again Manly superstar Tom Trbojevic are applying enormous pressure. Trbojevic has been so impressive that it’s a matter of where in the backline, not if, he’s selected.
To’o has played a pivotal role in the Panthers’ unbeaten start to the season, crossing for four tries, racking up a league-high 247 metres per match and tallying a competition-high 55 tackle breaks.
Sterling said the 22-year-old should be a member of coach Brad Fittler’s 17.
“His efforts coming out of, especially his own end, but also to get the ball over at the other end – it’s almost irresistible,” Sterling said on Wide World of Sports’ Sterlo’s Wrap.
“It’s unusual compared to the Origin wingers we’ve seen in the past. Last year Daniel Tupou was there for all three games … This guy has a different stature and build to the other wingers going around, but he is so effective.
“He ran for over 300 metres on the weekend … Those are crazy stats.
“He’s a try-scorer also. You get him five, 10 metres out, he’s going to get across. He’s acrobatic, he finds a way to score. So I think he’s going to feature.”
Three Panthers featured in last year’s State of Origin series in halfback Nathan Cleary (NSW), forward Isaah Yeo (NSW) and utility Kurt Capewell (Queensland).
And Sterling said not only To’o but Penrith prop Moses Leota could be handed a Blues jersey this year.
Leota has shared a front row with enforcer James Fisher-Harris and the pair have provided Penrith extraordinary grunt in the middle.
“I think this guy – he’s straight up and down but he keeps coming at you,” Sterling said.
“I would think Daniel Saifiti and Junior Paulo are probably shoo-ins if they’re fit and healthy come Origin selection. Payne Haas is in there as well.
“But this guy (Leota) might just be the bolter. He was mentioned last year. He might just be the bolter this year.
“His form is better now than what it was last year when he was in the sights of selectors.”