Brad Fittler has indicated Josh Addo-Carr's stunning World Cup will play into his hopes of a NSW State of Origin recall, claiming the flyer is playing far better now than when overlooked for the Blues.
Fittler's decision to leave Addo-Carr out of this year's Origin series was a talking point of NSW's 2-1 loss, even with Brian To'o and Daniel Tupou performing well on the wing.
In his return to representative football, Addo-Carr scored a record-equalling 12 tries in five games for the Kangaroos, regularly breaking the game open with his speed.
Fittler was equally impressed with the Canterbury winger's work out of yardage, after that and his height were among the chief reasons Tupou was picked ahead of him last season.
Asked if Addo-Carr had proved NSW wrong, Fittler was complimentary about the 27-year-old's return.
"He was fantastic (at the World Cup)," Fittler said while overseeing an NSWRL Talented Aboriginal Athletes Program on Friday.
"What he did is he proved that he's the best person for that job. He was in the middle of the field and didn't let many in.
"One thing that was really strong was his defence and he was carrying the ball out of trouble.
"He was one of the best players in the Australian team."
Origin I in Adelaide remains six-and-a-half months away, but Fittler suggested World Cup form in the representative arena would be considered next year.
Also of importance is the fact Fittler expects the Bulldogs to be performing better in 2023, after making clear this year he wanted players from winning teams.
"He was playing better in November than he was in March," Fittler said of Addo-Carr.
"If he takes that into the off-season and then playing for Canterbury ... they've got a new couple of players and all of a sudden they could be winning games.
"It always helps when you're winning games, and he's going back to a club that in my eyes will win more games because it looks like they're going to be stronger.
"Everyone wants to see Josh play in the rep arena where you can see that he takes the game to another level."
Meanwhile Fittler said he found criticism of Nathan Cleary's output strange, after the NSW halfback claimed the Kangaroos No.7 jersey in Australia's World Cup win.
"He cops it a lot. For one of the better players in our game, he seems to get a lot of criticism, and I'm not sure why," Fittler said.
"He's not a Johnathan Thurston or an Andrew Johns, he's a Nathan Cleary.
"Sometimes he doesn't stand out, but I've never seen a game where he doesn't give 100 per cent or he's not nailing the details that people don't see."
Australian Associated Press
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