When Tyson Frizell saw a missed call on his phone last Sunday from Westpac NSW Blues coach Brad Fittler, his head began to spin.
He has played 14 Origin games from 2016, with his last in 2020.
After a two-year absence, could Fittler be calling for the back rower’s return to the NSW Blues?
“It was buzzing around in my head… it could be good news or potentially it could be bad news,” Frizell said.
“I had no inkling or idea I might be considered. There had been speculation but not a lot.”
Frizell did receive the green light and felt a huge sense of both relief and gratitude.
“It’s an awesome feeling… to be away from the Origin team, the environment, I guess you realise how much you miss it.
“I never took it for granted but doubts do come into your mind about whether you’ll ever find yourself back in there.”
Frizell has been a shining light for the Knights this year, scoring four tries in 10 matches. He averages 98 metres a game with 96 per cent tackle efficiency, has 26 tackle-busts, three line-breaks, four offloads and is an 80-minute player.
“That was one of the longest pre-seasons I’ve had and I got through it all, staying free of niggles and injuries,” Frizell said.
“I’m sure that’s contributed to my form as well.
“You never set out each season to solely play Origin. You set out to play well for your club first and foremost, but you do keep your fingers crossed that you might get an opportunity.”
It might have only been two years but there are only six survivors from the Game Three 2020 team Frizell played in. He started in the back row with Angus Crichton and Jake Trbojevic, and Dale Finucane, Isaah Yeo and Nathan Brown on the bench.
“I haven’t played with any of the debutants but there are a few familiar faces like the Penrith boys (Nathan Cleary, Yeo), Teddy (James Tedesco) and Payne (Haas), which is always nice to see.
“It’s exciting to be a part of their journey and I’m still on mine… and I’ve got a little while to go hopefully.”