‘Dumbfounding’ Origin call defies belief
There are few players who bleed Maroon like Corey Parker.
Parker played 347 games over his 16-year career with the Brisbane Broncos, as well as playing 19 State of Origin matches and 13 Test matches for Australia.
The veteran forward was known for doing the hard work and built a career out of his no-nonsense approach to doing the hard work.
Breaking into the Maroons side during an insanely-successful period was difficult but Parker played all but two games between 2011 and 2016.
While not known for his verbal explosions, Parker blew up when the NSW team was selected without David Klemmer in the side.
I am not usually one to rant , but here I go! I bleed MAROON but I like to think I’m also pretty fair in regards to my opinion . I CANNOT believe that NSW have over looked a player who in my option nearly single-handedly won the game in game1.Not to mention playing with a broken*— Corey Parker (@Coreyjparker13) July 1, 2019
Parker's blow up was part of an eruption of anger with The Daily Telegraph journalist Phil Rothfield saying the decision to leave Klemmer out was "madness, absolute madness".
Former Blues star Paul Gallen also wrote a column which argued Klemmer was a must for the Blues.
"I think Klemmer has earned the right to be there," Gallen wrote. "He's never done anything wrong in Origin. He's performed every time he's run out in a NSW jersey. I can't see why he should miss out."
Fittler said at last Monday's team announcement that Klemmer would be drafted into the side if St George Illawarra Dragons forward Tariq Sims was suspended by the judiciary.
He was given one week after being found guilty of dangerous contact on Michael Morgan.
But despite Klemmer being brought into the side, Parker told news.com.au the non-selection in the original team would have hurt the tough forward.
"If you ask Klem how he feels about it, he probably wouldn't give you the answer you're after," Parker said. "From a player's perspective, yes you're back in the team but you weren't first thought of being in the team after such a dominant display.
"From Klem's point of view there was no better player on the field in my opinion in game one. He set the tone and hence the reason they left him on for so long. For that to happen and then for him to be overlooked for game III, regardless of the result of game II, I thought was wrong.
"It's easy to say he's in the side and everyone's a winner but he would have been hurt good and proper. This is from a guy who bleeds blue, he broke his wrist playing for NSW, he soldiered on in an Origin match - that sort of courage and toughness is what Origin is all about. I was dumbfounded."
The decision to omit Klemmer came with plenty of discussion over loyalty and the way it is handed out.
Fittler stuck with an out-of-form Panthers halfback Nathan Cleary, who had one and a half solid games before he was injured.
On the other hand, there were seven changes from the Blues' game I and game II teams.
While NSW have a huge NRL talent pool to pull from, Parker said the loyalty should have gone to the four-year Origin veteran who has always put his body on the line for his state.
"The loyalty in that, and again, nothing personal with Daniel Saifiti, but the loyalty in that is David Klemmer would have been in that game had he not broken his wrist playing for NSW, that's the reality of it," Parker said. "He broke his wrist, he came back early for Newcastle because he wanted to show his teammates and the coach that he had what it takes going into the deciding game. He pulled apart the Broncos three weeks after breaking his wrist and he still didn't make the cut.
"The loyalty thing, and no disrespect, but anyone who pulled on that Blue jersey in Origin II would have done a good job. Queensland were awful, they were that far off the mark it wasn't funny. NSW played with a great deal of expansiveness and speed but that's a hard Origin match to gauge loyalty on. If you want to go to loyalty, you stay loyal with the guys that have done the job in my opinion. Dave Klemmer, he soldiered on in Origin I with a broken wrist, I just think that carries more weight than someone who's come in and done a job for five minutes - that's my opinion."
Parker also said loyalty isn't just about selecting the same team without merit.
While Queensland coach Kevin Walters made some changes for the third Origin match, Parker said the axing of Dylan Napa and Jarrod Wallace showed how hard players had to work to hang on to their Origin jerseys.
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"It was an embarrassing game for Queensland, the players were embarrassed by their performance and off the back of that, Kevvie had to make some changes," he said. "There'll be an opportunity for someone like Dylan Napa to come back into the side but an Origin jersey is not just something you walk up and grab and think it's yours, you've got to earn it and you've got to keep it."
Wrist in which he did for his beloved state , and continued to make a difference. For him to display that sort of toughness and passion and then to pull apart the broncos in a early return, to not be picked is absolutely not fare ! Loyalty is to those that deserve it . Wow !!!!!— Corey Parker (@Coreyjparker13) July 1, 2019