‘I was burning’: How Josh Addo-Carr moved on from his NSW State of Origin axing

Josh Addo-Carr is a controversial omission from Brad Fittler’s NSW State of Origin squad. The Bulldogs winger speaks in-depth for the first time about his painful axing to PAMELA WHALEY.

Josh Addo-Carr’s non-selection for NSW has been tempered by the improved form of the Bulldogs. Picture: Matt King/Getty Images
Josh Addo-Carr’s non-selection for NSW has been tempered by the improved form of the Bulldogs. Picture: Matt King/Getty Images

Josh Addo-Carr admits he was ‘burning’ after his axing from the NSW State of Origin side, and wasn’t surprised to receive a text from Blues coach Brad Fittler as he named his side for Game Two of the series.

Fittler sent the Bulldogs winger a message to let him know he’d be sticking with Daniel Tupou and Brian To’o for Origin II in Perth next Sunday night.

“I wasn’t too surprised to be honest,” he says.

“Daniel Tupou and Bizza [To’o] had a really good first game of Origin and I thought they did as much as they could and played really well for the Blues in the first game so I wasn’t really expecting a call.”

Josh Addo-Carr of the Bulldogs celebrates victory over the Wests Tigers. Picture: Matt King/Getty Images
Josh Addo-Carr of the Bulldogs celebrates victory over the Wests Tigers. Picture: Matt King/Getty Images

The electric winger has scored 10 tries in 12 games for the Blues since 2018 and was a shock omission from Fittler’s team for game one in Sydney, which had much to do with the Bulldogs’ miserable season thus far.

“It was mixed emotions to be honest. I know my team at the time were doing it tough, it’s just one of those things. I was always focused on what I had to do for the Bulldogs, so that’s footy,” Addo-Carr says.

“I was burning at the start but then I figured there’s nothing much I can do about it now, all I can do now is keep proving everyone wrong and play good footy for my teammates.

“I feel like I’ve been doing that for the last however many rounds. I’ve always prided myself on being a consistent footballer. This year is just not my year.”

Despite his representative disappointment, Addo-Carr is smiling.

Raymond Faitala-Mariner and Josh Addo-Carr celebrate victory after the round 15 NRL match between the Canterbury Bulldogs and the Wests Tigers. Picture: Matt King/Getty Images
Raymond Faitala-Mariner and Josh Addo-Carr celebrate victory after the round 15 NRL match between the Canterbury Bulldogs and the Wests Tigers. Picture: Matt King/Getty Images

In round 15 the Bulldogs put together two wins on the bounce under new interim coach Mick Potter, overcoming the Wests Tigers 36-12 after trouncing the Eels a week earlier.

In both games, five-eighth Matt Burton has been the best player on the field, earning his call up for an Origin debut for the Blues hours after Addo-Carr was told he’d missed out yet again.

The two have struck up a dynamic combination at the Bulldogs that has taken time to develop into something special.

Matt Burton of the Bulldogs has been called up for Origin duty. Picture: Matt King/Getty Images
Matt Burton of the Bulldogs has been called up for Origin duty. Picture: Matt King/Getty Images

“I’m so happy for him,” Addo-Carr says of Burton’s call up.

“Me and him have become really close and I knew that we’re going to build a really special bond when I knew that he signed for the Bulldogs too.

“I’m so, so happy for him. He really deserves it. He’s worked his backside off and he’s come into a team that’s been struggling the last couple of years and I feel like he’s been the best player for us all year. He’s shining and he’s very special, so it’s a pleasure to play alongside him.

“It’s good to see all the hard work we’ve been doing over the pre-season, I’m so happy for him. I know what it’s like to put that Blues jersey on and he finally gets to do that.”

Josh Addo-Carr celebrates winning game two of the 2021 State of Origin series. Picture: Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images
Josh Addo-Carr celebrates winning game two of the 2021 State of Origin series. Picture: Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images

He hopes one day he and Burton will play alongside each other in the sky blue.

“We were just speaking about it. He’s spewing that I wasn’t there this year but I just said, ‘Just enjoy the moment, it’s like debuting all over again’,” he says.

“You get to represent your state and your family at the same time, and where you’re from too, Dubbo. Enjoy the moment. It’s a special occasion.”

It’s one that Addo-Carr knows too well.

Watching the Blues lose 16-10 in game one stung but in his heart he’s a NSW fan and supports whatever selection decision Fittler makes.

“Yeah, 100 per cent [I watched the game],” he says.

Blues coach Brad Fittler and Josh Addo-Carr back in 2018. Picture: Quinn Rooney/Getty Images
Blues coach Brad Fittler and Josh Addo-Carr back in 2018. Picture: Quinn Rooney/Getty Images

“I just missed that feeling of running out, you’re nervous as hell but knowing that everyone is there to watch you and the team, I definitely miss that feeling.

“I’m a Blue through and through, and whoever puts that jersey on I support them no matter what.”

Pamela Whaley
Pamela WhaleyStaff writer

Pamela Whaley is a Sydney-based sports journalist with more than a decade of experience in the industry. Starting out as a cadet at The Daily Advertiser in Wagga Wagga, Pamela moved to Sydney in 2014 and began writing features and news for the NRL's magazine, Big League. She has since worked at Fox Sports as a managing editor of digital NRL content and with Australian Associated Press as a sports journalist, covering A-League, cricket and NRL. She grew up playing soccer, touch football and netball but her true passion lies in storytelling, particularly involving rugby league.