Souths’ Cam Murray returns with Origin clock ticking

Jasper Bruce |

Skipper Cam Murray appears set to return for South Sydney on Friday.
Skipper Cam Murray appears set to return for South Sydney on Friday.

Cam Murray will return from his hip injury just in time to make a last-ditch case for selection in NSW’s team for the second State of Origin game.

The South Sydney captain completed a full training session on Tuesday morning and was later named on the bench for the Rabbitohs’ clash against Brisbane on Friday.

Murray’s Souths teammates are optimistic he will play in the round-15 clash at Accor Stadium.

“He’s pretty close. He’s got to see how he pulls up after today, he did everything today,” prop Tom Burgess said.

“I’d put my money on him playing.”

Murray has missed the Rabbitohs’ last four games, along with Origin I, with the hip-pointer injury he suffered against Penrith in round nine but looks firmly in the frame for game two against Queensland on June 26.

Handed his NRL debut by Blues coach Michael Maguire in 2017, Murray has been picked in every Origin game since 2019 when fit.

He is able to play on an edge or through the middle.

His selection looms as a particularly enticing proposition for NSW given an injury concern over forward Liam Martin, who missed Penrith’s round-14 win with a foot problem suffered in Origin I.

Cam Murray (centre) has been a Blues regular over the last five years when fit. (Mark Evans/AAP PHOTOS)

Martin will need to make a charge from the reserves to feature against Newcastle on Sunday.

The Panthers have previously said they are confident Martin will be fit for Origin II, but Murray would be a like-for-like replacement if the Penrith hitman fails to make it.

Murray’s return for the last weekend before the Origin teams are picked will be a major boost to the 16th-placed Rabbitohs, who enter round 15 in the wake of their first consecutive wins of 2024.

“He’ll be a good asset,” Souths prop Sean Keppie said.

Murray has impressed the Rabbitohs with his application to his recovery.

“He looked like he’s not missed a beat, out there today on the field. He’s very professional in how he goes about his recovery,” Burgess said.

“He’s got back out there probably ahead of time.”

Teammates also endorsed Latrell Mitchell for Origin selection as the Rabbitohs fullback looks to make one last play for the NSW centre spot vacated by the suspended Joseph-Aukuso Suaalii.

Latrell Mitchell’s form has him back in the NSW Origin selection discussion. (Dave Hunt/AAP PHOTOS)

Mitchell has not appeared for the Blues since starring in the 2021 series win, through a combination of injuries, form and ruling himself out of contention to focus on club duties.

But the 26-year-old is playing his best football of the season and last weekend inspired Souths to a 46-12 thumping of Gold Coast.

“I don’t think Queensland want to see him selected,” Souths hooker Peter Mamouzelos said.

“For Latrell, it’s just building on the back of his previous performances. If he keeps doing that, I’m pretty sure he’ll be there.”

Burgess said he doubted Mitchell was focused on proving a point to Maguire after being overlooked for Origin game one.

“I don’t think he’s too worried about that right now. He’s focused on the red and green,” he said.

“He’s passionate about the Blues and wants them to do well. If he’s needed there then I’m sure he’d be in the conversation.”