NSW squad a distraction: Hagan

Newcastle coach Michael Hagan - who will be Wayne Bennett's assistant in this year's State of Origin series - has questioned NSW's decision to select a preliminary squad so far away from the opening game on June 11.

Hagan had seven of his Knights players named in a 33-man NSW squad last month and can expect the majority of them to hold their spots when the squad is whittled down to 24 tomorrow.

But Hagan - who played five Origin games for the Maroons - believes ongoing debate about who will and won't play for the Blues has been an unnecessary distraction for the players.

The final NSW squad for Origin I at Suncorp Stadium will be named on June 2.