Phil Gould's 'unfair' Dylan Edwards call for the Blues amid James Tedesco battle for Origin

The former Blues coach has given his insight on the Blues team selection.

NRL supremo Phil Gould has called for Dylan Edwards to either play fullback in State of Origin or miss out altogether as his battle with James Tedesco for the No.1 jersey continues to divide New South Wales fans. Arguably the biggest decision of Michael Maguire's first team selection for the Blues heading into Game I of Origin is the choice of fullback.

Kangaroos and Blues incumbent Tedesco came under heavy scrutiny at the end of last year with his performances dipping for the Roosters, state and country. While many have called for debutant coach Maguire to select a new fullback to start a new era for the Blues, Tedesco hasn't gone down without a fight.

Dylan Edwards and Nathan Cleary celebrate and James Tedesco reacts.
Phil Gould has called for Dylan Edwards (pictured left) to either play fullback in State of Origin or miss out altogether as his battle as he fights with James Tedesco (pictured right) for the role. (Getty Images)

The Roosters fullback has been superb in 2024 and his latest game against the Broncos was arguably his best as he upstaged Maroons superstar Reece Walsh. However, fans have turned to Penrith fullback Edwards as the made candidate to replace Tedesco.

The Yahoo Sports Australia poll suggests 45 per cent of NRL fans believe Edwards should wear the No.1 jersey having won three straight premierships with Penrith. His combination with Nathan Cleary would also be a huge bonus.

Although Edwards could be overlooked again this year if Maguire opts to allow Tedesco to captain the team once again. Some have suggested Edwards could play as the utility or on the wing, which he did for the Kangaroos last year.

And former Blues coach Gould has weighed-in. While Gould does support Edwards as a potential fullback option, having claimed he is made for Origin, he does not believe Edwards should play anywhere else other than his preferred position.

"He could do the job ... but I think that would be grossly unfair on Dylan Edwards for his first venture into Origin," Gould said on Channel Nine's podcast Six Tackles with Gus. "If they decide he needs to be in the Origin side, then he needs to be at fullback.

"He could certainly play on the wing, he'd be a great No.14 - he can play anywhere. I'm not saying he couldn't do it, but I'm saying it would be unfair to do it. If he's going to be judged, be judged as a fullback. He's absolutely perfect for Origin, but if they are going to pick him, pick him at fullback so you can see the best of him."

Dylan Edwards reacts.
Dylan Edwards (pictured middle) appears to be in a battle against James Tedesco for the No.1 jersey for the Blues.

Tedesco will have another chance to show his mettle and hold onto the Blues jersey this week when the Roosters take on the Warriors. Another strong performance from Tedesco could make it hard for Maguire to drop the Blues and Kangaroos captain.

Edwards has Cleary back guiding the Panthers outfit this week as they take on the Bulldogs on Friday night. Ryan Papenhuyzen's latest injury appears to suggest the fullback position is a battle between Edwards and Tedesco.

Phil Gould reacts.
Commentator and General Manager of the Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs Phil Gould (pictured) has weighed-in on the Blues fullback position.

When talking about the Blues squad, Gould believes fans will be "shocked" when it comes to some of the selections. Gould claimed Maguire and his team have a fresh set of eyes looking over the squad and has been in contact with a large number of players.


One of the other big talking points for the Blues is who will play No.6 next to Cleary. Nicho Hynes is favourite after a stellar start to the season with the Sharks. However, Matt Burton is putting his hand up with the Bulldogs five-eighth proving to be having his best season to date. Jarome Lui and Cody Walker have both played in the No.6 jersey across the last two years, but appear further down the order in 2024. Although Maguire hasn't given any hints on who he wants to play with Cleary next month.