Which Wallabies could be playing State of Origin?
109 Have your say
Wallabies halfback Will Genia kicks the ball. AAP Image/Dave Hunt
The pinnacle of rugby league is State of Origin and as a matter of interest, I’m looking at which rugby union stars would be well suited to this arena. Could any Wallabies help the NSW Blues get one back against Queensland, or break into an all-star Maroons line-up?
Topping the list has to be the flying winger Digby Ioane. The Reds back has become of the best wingers in the world over the past two years with his penchant for breaking tackles, scoring tries and his broken-field running.
Ioane relishes the contact and would be asset for the Maroons with his fast leg speed. Also, he knows how to do great post-try celebrations – which wouldn’t hurt the crowd atmosphere at big games.
Wycliff Palu is another who fits the Origin mould. With a build similar to Petero Civonaceva, Palu knows league already after a stint with St George Illawarra and with his size and strength would be a handful for any defence. Fit Cliffy with a Blues jumper now.
The Parramatta Eels said Gold Coast product James O’Connor was too small for league. He’s now 1.8m tall and 88kg; is he too small for league and for State of Origin? Considering the likes of Matt Bowen, Steve Turner, and Alfie Langer, I don’t think so.
O’Connor would make a decent Origin winger, for the Maroons of course, with his ball-playing ability and speed. He enjoys the big-match occasion and can also kick goals when required. O’Connor’s ability to play across the backline in a number of positions would also be an advantage.
Another potential Queensland addition would be Reds and Wallabies loose forward Scott Higginbotham. One of the best Aussie players in Super Rugby this year, Higginbotham has the mongrel to big a success in State of Origin. He adds real steel in any pack he is a member of, knows how to find the try line and doesn’t mind a bit of argy-bargy.
Who else has State of Origin potential?
Rocky Elsom is a former leaguie (a Bulldogs junior) with an aggressive style of play but appears injury-prone at the moment and would have to miss out. Tatafu Polota-Nau seems to love smashing people and get smashed himself, but would be too short for the Origin cauldron. Likewise Will Genia, who has the running and passing game, but probably not the size and defence. He could be another Alfie Langer when he turns it on.
Perhaps two wildcards could be the Wallabies two openside flankers, David Pocock and Michael Hooper.
The new Wallaby captain certainly has the strength to prosper in an Origin battle, with guns that would make Ron Burgundy proud. His skills are unique though, and he might not quite have the speed or passing ability to be anything other than a prop forward.
However, new gun Michael Hooper is amazingly quick and break tackles like few other Australian rugby forwards. The Manly boy is lighting quick, has great hands and throws his smaller frame into tackles. Hooper could be a handy lock or back-rower like fellow northern beaches product Anthony Watmough.
Would do you think would thrive in State of Origin?
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