I’ve recently noted with some curiousity and concern that people around these parts seem to be posting State of Origin teams and such, with little regard to the fact that the the next representative fixtures involve City vs Country and Australia vs New Zealand.
While I have no problem with my fellow Roarers ignoring the City v Country clash, which I gather only Ricky Stuart actually plans on watching, I cannot fathom our ignorance of the upcoming ANZAC Test match.
I know New Zealand were terrible last year and I know that with Stephen Kearney again in charge, things may not be any better this time, but I still feel that this is a game with plenty to offer. So I’m here to address this by selecting my Australian and New Zealand sides.
1. Bill Slater – apologies Tim Moltzen fans, but Slater still wins the day.
2. Akuila Uate – I’m not certain whether his name is spelled correctly here, but I am certain that he will be picked.
3. Greg Inglis – his move to fullback won’t mean a thing. He gets the jersey.
4. Justin Hodges – apologies to NSW’s decent array of centres, but until one of them stands up in Origin, I’m sticking with the Queenslanders here.
5. Josh Morris – I guess? I dunno, there’s no super standout, so he’ll do.
6. Johnathon Thurston – No Lockyer, so just find the nearest Queensland playmaker to wear the six
7. Cooper Cronk – He’s no Mitchell Pearce (which is why I’ve selected him – he is not overrated)
8. Ben Hannant – because Matt Scott is hurt
9. Cameron Smith – not a shock, is it?
10. Keith Galloway – just so Phil Gould is in a good mood in commentary
11. Anthony Watmough – I do not like this guy, but he’s good at footy.
12. Sam Thaiday – legend.
13. Paul Gallen – I’d keep him at lock for a while yet.
14. Dave Taylor – with no Williams, he’s the big impact guy.
15. David Shillington – I have not seen the Raiders play this year (thanks Channel 9), but he goes OK from what I remember.
16 – Luke Lewis – I can’t really think of anyone else.
17. Todd Carney – quality utilities who can play dummy-half are thin on the ground. So I’ve selected Todd to sit on the bench, just to deprive Ricky Stuart of seeing how he combines with Mullen in City v Country.
1. Kevin Locke – was their best amidst the shambles of last year’s efforts.
2. Manu Vatuvei – I wanna see him running at Uate, and vice versa.
3. Kieran Foran – was poor at halfback last year and is more a ball runner, so its either centres or the bench for this glamour player.
4. Shaun Kenny-Dowall – class act, great to see him back
5. Jason Nightingale – not really a Kiwi though, is he?
6. Benji Marshall – pretty obvious one.
7. Shaun Johnson – a class act. This is surely the best halves combo New Zealand have ever had, right? (with respect to Stacey Jones and Henry Paul)
8. Jared Warea-Hargreaves – smash ‘em mate.
9. Isaac Luke – seems less grubby this year, which is good, cause he can play.
10. Ben Matulino – plenty of them seem injured, so I’ve picked him.
11. Simon Mannering – tackles good (and Frank Pritchard is Samoan now right?)
12. Sika Manu – pretty good
13. Jeremy Smith – also pretty good
14. Alex Glenn – can play anywhere
15. Greg Eastwood – has pulled out some great games for the Kiwis
16. Sam Rapira – if he’s fit get him in
17. Adam Blair – I forgot about him until now and to be honest, wouldn’t start with him anyway. In fact, Kevin Proctor comes very close to taking this jersey off him…
So there you have it! My extremely well considered selections for the upcoming ANZAC Test. May it please be a ripper!