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The contentious calls made by NSW coach Brad Fittler and his selection panel have dominated pre- and post-game debate so far during the 2022 State of Origin series.

Leaving out gun winger Josh Addo-Carr, and to a lesser extent series-winning forwards Jake Trbojevic and Angus Crichton, for game one raised plenty of eyebrows.

Then after the Blues’ unexpected 16-10 loss, ‘Freddy’ and co made sweeping changes for this week’s must-win game two in Perth – including ditching debutants Kotoni Staggs and Ryan Matterson, as well as experienced forwards Reagan Campbell-Gillard and Tariq Sims.

We’ve trawled through the Origin archives to highlight the axings of yesteryear that attracted the biggest public backlash.

Kerry Boustead (1982)

Innisfail product Boustead was the game’s preeminent winger of the late-1970s and early-1980s – a walk-up selection for the Australian Test side and part of Queensland’s Sydney-based nucleus during Origin’s early years.

But the Eastern Suburbs speedster’s reputation counted for little after opposing winger Ziggy Niszczot bagged a double in NSW’s win in the 1982 series opener.

He made way for Brisbane Easts’ Brad Backer but despite the Maroons’ win in game two, Boustead was recalled for their tense 10-5 victory in the decider.

Boustead toured with the Kangaroos for a second time at the end of the season and scored Queensland’s first Origin hat-trick in 1984.

Peter Sterling (1984)

Parramatta maestro Sterling was well-established as the game’s top halfback at the start of 1984, having steered the Eels to three straight premierships and usurping Steve Mortimer on the 1982 ‘Invincibles’ Kangaroo tour.

But Sterling was a victim of NSW’s kneejerk selection policy after a heavy 29-12 loss in game one of the ’84 series, with Mortimer taking his spot.

Sterling also lost his Test jersey to Queensland’s Mark Murray for the Ashes series opener, which was played before the second Origin.

Mortimer famously led the Blues their maiden series triumph in 1985 before retiring from rep footy.

But Sterling scaled the representative heights again in 1986, starring in a history-making NSW series cleansweep and another unbeaten Kangaroo Tour before captaining the Blues in 1987-88.

Phil Daley (1988)

Daley’s sensational sacking from the NSW side for game three of the 1988 series had nothing to do with footballing performance, but it represented one of the most unfortunate chapters in the Blues’ Origin history.

The Manly prop toured with the 1986 Kangaroos and made his NSW debut the following season.

But he was inexplicably banished after breaching team protocol and leaving camp to visit his pregnant wife, who was unwell, ahead of the ’88 dead-rubber clash.

Daley was replaced by North’s Steve Hanson, who scored a try in a 38-22 defeat.

He did not play for NSW again but the incident did little to deter the national selectors in the short-term: Daley played two Tests in Australia’s ensuing Ashes series win over Great Britain.

Ben Elias and Steve Roach (1989)

NSW handed Jack Gibson the coaching reins following Queensland’s maiden 3-0 cleansweep in 1988.

Arguably the most revered coach of all time, Gibson was determined put an immediate stamp on the team – which included leaving out champion Balmain duo, who were NSW and Australia staples, Elias and Roach.

Elias’ failure to follow instructions in Gibson-coached City Origin’s win over Country was reportedly behind his omission, while ill-discipline counted against Roach.

A Blues side featuring eight debutants was trounced 36-6 in game one on the way to another series whitewash.

Roach was retained for Australia’s subsequent tour of New Zealand (Elias was unavailable due to injury).

Meanwhile, in one of the great selection turnarounds, Elias captained Gibson’s Blues to a drought-breaking series win in 1990, with Roach also featuring prominently.

Paul Vautin (1990)

Queensland headed into the 1990 series opener without talismanic skipper Wally Lewis for just the second time since Origin’s inception due to injury – which gave beloved veteran Vautin his second opportunity to lead his state.

But after a dour 8-0 loss, ending a six-match winning streak, the Maroons went looking for scapegoats.

Vautin and fellow backrow stalwart Wally Fullerton-Smith were unceremoniously dumped, bringing the incumbent Test vice-captain’s 22-game Queensland tenure to an end.

The selection shock compounded a tough period for ‘Fatty’, who left Manly in acrimonious circumstances at the end of 1989 and was struggling for form at new club Eastern Suburbs.

Trevor Gillmeister, the heroic leader of Queensland’s 1995 boilover triumph, is the only other Origin captain besides Vautin to be dropped during a series.

‘The Axe’ was axed after the Vautin-coached Maroons lost the ’96 opener 14-6

Kevin Walters (1992)

Few players’ Origin careers challenge the notion of Queensland’s famed loyalty than Kevin Walters.

After coming off the bench five times for the Maroons, Walters earned his start in the No.6 jersey in the 1992 series following the retirement of Wally Lewis.

Despite being named Queensland’s players’ player in the 14-6 defeat, Walters was benched for the rest of the series with Peter Jackson moved to pivot and Mark Coyne called up to debut at centre.

Walters was relegated to the interchange again for the 1993 dead-rubber after being a try-scorer in game two and could only manage one game off the bench in 1996 as the Maroons sampled non-specialists Jason Smith, Julian O’Neill and Dale Shearer at five-eighth.

The future Maroons coach’s Origin playing tenure had a happy post-script, however, starring in Queensland’s 1998 series win and captaining the state in his last match in 1999.

Gary Belcher (1993)

Canberra fullback Belcher was integral to Queensland’s late-1980s dominance, playing 15 consecutive Origins from his 1986 debut until the end of the 1990 series.

But the two-time Kangaroo tourist and dual premiership winner missed the Maroons’ 1991-92 Origin campaigns through injury.

A solid start to 1993 in his return from a knee reconstruction saw ‘Badge’ recalled to the Queensland side for the series opener, but the 30-year-old was mystifyingly dropped following NSW’s 14-10 win at Lang Park with the enigmatic Dale Shearer reclaiming the No.1 jersey.

Belcher retired at the end of the season and was named as one of Queensland’s 25 greatest Origin players in 2005.

Billy Slater (2005)

Following his instantly iconic chip-and-chase try as a rookie Origin winger in 2004, Slater appeared set for a lengthy reign as Queensland’s fullback.

But despite scoring a 90-metre intercept try in Game 2 of 2005 – and notching a hat-trick at club level in the lead-up to selection for the third game – the Melbourne flyer was dumped in the wake of the 32-22 loss.

Matt Bowen took on the No.1 duties for the decider, which NSW won comfortably, 32-10. Slater was stuck in a Maroons queue behind Bowen and Karmichael Hunt in 2006-07 but was an automatic pick thereafter.

He retired at the end of the 2018 series after 31 appearances – including an Origin record 26 starts at fullback.

Robbie Farah (2009)

Farah received a long-awaited Origin call-up in 2009 after long-serving hooker and captain Danny Buderus departed for England.

The Tigers playmaker was one of NSW’s more effective attacking players as the series slipped away with losses in the first two games, but he was dumped in favour of archrival Michael Ennis for the dead-rubber.

Farah would have to wait until 2012 to get another opportunity in the sky blue jumper but made it count, featuring in 14 of 15 matches until his last appearance in 2016 and skippering his state for one match in 2015.

Farah was contentiously overlooked for debutant Nathan Peats in 2017.

Terry Campese was consigned to Origin’s one-game wonder club in 2009, shown the door in favour of returning veteran Trent Barret following the Blues series-opening defeat.

Mitchell Pearce (2014)

As they looked for the answer to ending the Maroons’ record-breaking series winning streak, the Blues stuck solid with Mitchell Pearce at halfback for 11 straight Origin matches from 2010-13.

But despite starring in Sydney Roosters’ 2013 premiership triumph, Pearce got the chop ahead of the 2014 Origin campaign.

An off-field indiscretion just weeks out from selection was at the root of Pearce’s axing, with coach Laurie Daley determined to overhaul the Blues’ culture.

Canterbury playmaker Trent Hodkinson wore the No.7 as NSW carved out its first series win in nine years.

Pearce was recalled at five-eighth in 2015 alongside Hodkinson and featured at halfback in 2017.

After moving to Newcastle, he finally offloaded his record of most Origin matches without featuring in a series win after helping the Blues to victory in the 2019 decider – Pearce’s 19th interstate appearance.

Luke Keary (2020)

The centre of an eligibility controversy that defied all common sense – with Keary forced to align with NSW rather than his native Queensland – the three-time premiership-winning five-eighth earned his maiden Blues call-up for the 2020 series opener.

But after a quiet debut that included a couple of errors as the Blues went down 18-14 to a widely written Maroons line-up in Adelaide, Keary was the only NSW player dropped for game two with Cody Walker – who himself had been cast aside after a poor debut in the 2019 opener – recalled to the No.6.

Josh Addo-Carr (2022)

‘The Foxx’ was an integral part of NSW’s 2018-19 and 2021 series triumphs, playing 12 straight Origins on the wing from his debut and crossing for 10 tries – one short of the Blues’ all-time mark.

His four doubles give him a share of the Origin record with Greg Inglis and Darius Boyd (who played 32 and 28 matches, respectively).

But after leaving perennial contenders Melbourne Storm for cellar-dwelling Canterbury Bulldogs, Addo-Carr was left out of NSW’s squad for the 2022 series opener as Sydney Roosters beanpole flank-man Daniel Tupou received a recall.

Even the Blues’ game one defeat and Addo-Carr’s tryscoring form for the Bulldogs (14 tries in 11 games) wasn’t enough to earn a reprieve for game two in Perth.