State Of Origin Teams Named Ahead Of Game One

I’ve waited to write this article until both New South Wales and Queensland had announced their State Of Origin lineups.

I think its funny that we still see NSW selecting their team ahead of QLD. I guess it comes back to the fact that the administrators of our game have been just about non existent in Australia for a long time now. The ARL has been a dead shell of an organization for well over a decade, so obvious moves like having last years winners announcing their team first just don’t get addressed.

I thought the way both sides were announced was interesting.

For NSW, they did the old name call out that we have become used to. The Queenslanders though went all out with a very flashy gathering in Brisbane that included players coming out to music. It was very show biz like, and I don’t actually have a problem with it, but if I was NSW I’d be sitting the side down to watch every minute of that occasion and telling the players “These pricks think they have this won already”.

Anyway, lets have a look at both sides and I’ll give my comments below.

New South Wales
1. Josh Dugan
2. Brett Morris
3. Michael Jennings
4. Mark Gasnier
5. Akuila Uate
6. Jamie Soward
7. Mitchell Pearce
8. Jason King
9. Michael Ennis
10. Kade Snowden
11. Beau Scott
12. Greg Bird
13. Paul Gallen (C)

14. Ben Creagh
15. Trent Merrin
16. Tim Mannah
17. Dean Young

18. Jamal Idris

First of all, its good to see selectors went with Josh Dugan at fullback. I wouldn’t have been surprised had Michael Gordon been named in the number 1 jersey but his season ending injury put an end to that.

Dugan has had a mixed season at best but I think in City vs Country he showed he has the big game mentality. As for Jarryd Hayne, he was rightly left out. He has been terrible for good year now.
Uate shouldn’t be in the side as he isn’t from NSW or even Australia, but beyond that, he’ll do an ok job. I think Jennings was a little like Dugan in that, he showed he could step up in City vs Country. I think selectors probably liked the idea of having his mobility combating what they would have thought was Queenslands size out wide. The other two select themselves.

Its great to see Soward get his start and I’m willing to give Pearce his chance. Why not at this stage…

I like the look of the forward pack however I am surprised that Toleman got left out.

As for the bench, I don’t think its all that flash really. I can’t believe they selected Creagh again, he’s soft and not up to this level, and I kinda hope Jamal Idris gets to come into the side. I’ve got a feeling that after seeing Queenslands lineup, they NSW selectors wished they went with Idris in the centers.

1. Billy Slater
2. Darius Boyd
3. Dane Nielsen
4. Willie Tonga
5. Jharal Yow Yeh
6. Darren Lockyer (C)
7. Jonathan Thurston
8. Matthew Scott
9. Cameron Smith
10. Petero Civoniceva
11. Nate Myles
12. Sam Thaiday
13. Ashley Harrison

14. Cooper Cronk
15. Ben Hannant
16. Corey Parker
17. Jacob Lillyman

18. Dave Taylor

It is a very interesting Queensland lineup in a lot of ways.

With no Hodges and Inglis in the centers (Both are injured) Queensland has gone with Willie Tonga and young Melbourne center Dane Nielsen. He’s a very handy player and should be a good fit with a lot of his Storm team mates calling the shots. I think it really shows how Queensland just give their young players a chance though.

Get in, do a job for us, no pressure. Put that up against what Jamal Idris has gone through….its night and day.

The halves and forward pack is all pretty predictable. The Queensland pack looks fantastic. Cronk and Hannant off the bench will be strong but I think its a fair falloff to Parker and Lillyman.

How They Match Up
I like what both teams have done but the elephant in the room is the fact that, Queensland are obviously weak in the centers, and New South Wales left out Jamal Idris in what would have been the perfect chance for him to get his footing at this level.

The key for me is how the New South Wales forward rotation takes the game to the Queensland pack. With the players we have selected, we really need to get over the top of Queensland up front if we are any chance of winning.

Lockyer and Thurston don’t need much of a chance to win the game for the Maroons. Meanwhile the Blues inexperienced halves will be hard pressed to conjure some magic if they are playing behind a beaten pack.

You know that Paul Gallen is going to rip in, and he needs his forwards to follow his lead.

As for the back lines, I think to a certain extent they have each other covered. The Blues have tossed out an interesting set of outside backs while the Maroons have had to cover for two major losses through injury.

Looking over both sides, you can’t help but this Darren Lockyer will give the Queenslanders the edge they will need to win. Even if the Maroons find they are on the back foot, Lockyer can guide them to victory.

It should make for an interesting game next Wednesday night.


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