Maroons front row stocks dwindling for Origin

Curtis Woodward Roar Guru

By Curtis Woodward, Curtis Woodward is a Roar Guru & Live Blogger

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    There was once a time when Queensland could call on an endless line of representative front rowers to bash the helpless New South Wales Blues into submission.

    While Blues coach Laurie Daley has the wonderful predicament of fitting at least half a dozen players into three spots, the Maroons will be forced to blood unproven youngsters in the hellfire that is State of Origin football.

    Alarm bells were ringing for Queensland mentor Mal Meninga when Ben Hannant limped from Parramatta Stadium in the 19-18 loss to the Eels on Saturday night.

    Reports suggest Hannant could miss up to a month with a hamstring injury.

    With the Maroons side named in a fortnight, Hannant’s place is now up for grabs with youngsters Martin Kennedy and Josh McGuire roaring into contention.

    But McGuire’s chances have also taken a hit after being placed on report Saturday night for a high-shot on Eels superstar Jarryd Hayne.

    Another option for Queensland is to push Sam Thaiday up to the front row. But even this would be music to Daley’s ears as his impact on the match would be all but nullified.

    Undoubtedly Matt Scott and David Shillington will lead the pack and have no choice but play big minutes against the Blues.

    Shillington returned from a rib cartilage injury in the Canberra’s Raiders big win over the Newcastle Knights on Sunday.

    Nonetheless, stocks are slim for Queensland and you can guarantee the Blues brains trust can smell blood in the water.

    A massive target has now been placed on the chests of Scott and Shillington.

    With the likes of James Tamou, Aaron Woods, Tim Grant, Willie Mason, Andrew Fifita and Aiden Tolman waiting in the wings New South Wales clearly have the upper hand through the middle third.

    The Blues now have the front row to go with the most dangerous back row combination in rugby league.

    Origin matches might be won by the Cooper Cronks and the Jarryd Haynes in the dying moments. But the platform they work from is setup by the blood and sweat of the men in the middle.

    New South Wales also have the advantage in 2013 of playing not one but two matches at Sydney’s ANZ Stadium. It’s no secret the Maroons struggle at Homebush and its slower track.

    Queensland’s greatness will truly be tested.

    The Blues have their own injury concerns with speedsters Brett Stewart and Brett Morris considered unlikely starters on June 5.

    But outside backs can be replaced.

    Quality State of Origin hard men are few and far between.

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    The Crowd Says (84)

    • May 13th 2013 @ 7:08am
      bestywins said | May 13th 2013 @ 7:08am | ! Report

      Nice article Curtis,

      But I have to take you up on your claim “it’s no secret the maroons struggle at homebush ” remark.

      06 – lost by a point
      07 – Won 2nd game and only game there and series
      08 – Under pressure won 3rd game and series
      09 – Won 2nd game and only game and series
      10 – Won both games at said venue 1 st and 3RD games
      11 – lost only game there
      12 – lost only game there

      No disrespect but I don’t think that is a record of a team who is frightened of the venue anymore. 5 wins out of the last 8 games played there is pretty darn good
      Yes pre this golden era it was a graveyard for the Queenslanders but with pretty much the same players in key positions coming down this year, I don’t believe it holds the same aura it used too. However the last two years the blues have won there i’ll give them that.

      Cheers

      • May 13th 2013 @ 10:41am
        Sideline Commentator said | May 13th 2013 @ 10:41am | ! Report

        19 played. 13 NSW , 5 QLD , 1 drawn. Queensland lost last two. Not the best stats for the ‘toads there mate.

        • May 13th 2013 @ 10:56am
          bestywins said | May 13th 2013 @ 10:56am | ! Report

          Well we could go on and on but the point is missed. This golden team doesn’t have recent scarring from there , so it is a valid point I make .

          Same as when the blues were dominant in the 90’s and early 2000’s. Everyone was saying Lang Park was a fortress well it wasn’t for awhile. To say that Queensland struggle at home bush was a pointless argument given the recent playing record there. The stats I put up are hard core evidence this era have no fear. We only have to win one there this year. Given the blues record there since 05 is not good and our record down there is awesome since 05, I know where my money would be

        • May 16th 2013 @ 2:15pm
          iambunney said | May 16th 2013 @ 2:15pm | ! Report

          But, as bestywins says, in the last 6 years, Qld have won 5 and lost 3 – that is a good record. If they follow form, they’ll win one and lose one, and smash NSW in the middle game at Lang Park, meaning another series win.
          Pull out your Funk & Wagnell & look up the word “context”
          Qld may have once feared Homebush, but no longer. NSW need to improve their recent Homebush record and/or their Lang Park record to take home the gong.

      • Roar Pro

        May 19th 2013 @ 9:17pm
        Jack Daniels said | May 19th 2013 @ 9:17pm | ! Report

        lost only one… there was only one played there

    • May 13th 2013 @ 7:16am
      eagleJack said | May 13th 2013 @ 7:16am | ! Report

      I always felt that MCGuire was going to get a shot as the Maroons went with 4 props.

      Now with Hannant injured it looks like Kennedy will also get a call up.

      Scott, Shillington, McGuire and Kennedy will still prove a handful. But beyond that its looking pretty bare if injury was to strike again.

      But certainly the Blues prop stocks run very deep this year.

      Of those you didn’t mention Curtis there are guys like Dan Hunt, Tim Mannah, Ryan James, Trent Merrin, Kade Snowden, Luke Douglas, Mick Weyman, Tariq Sims who all could do a job up the middle. And that’s before you consider injured folk Tom Learoyd-Lahrs, Keith Galloway.

      With this kind of depth now it’s crazy to think we had to once push Gallen up front. It proved a masterstroke and the Kangaroos have used him there too but he’ll take his rightful place in the backrow this year.

    • May 13th 2013 @ 8:01am
      maximillian said | May 13th 2013 @ 8:01am | ! Report

      It appears NSW will have the better forward pack, but all that does is make me question the logic of selecting Pearce even more! The forwards will again be dominant & get NSW into good attacking positions, so its vital the halves turn that into points/repeat sets. Pearce has 1 of the worst short kicking games of any Origin half in recent memory, but A Reynolds has arguably the best short kicking in the comp so he could be crucial to NSW success. The onus is now on Farrah to take more of the final attacking play options as he can provide the accuracy required. – This is officially my last rant about Pearce & as a NSW supporter I will start backing him after today 🙂

    • Roar Pro

      May 13th 2013 @ 8:33am
      The High Shot said | May 13th 2013 @ 8:33am | ! Report

      If we get really desperate we could push Corey Parker up to prop, he started his career there.

      • May 13th 2013 @ 10:42am
        maximillian said | May 13th 2013 @ 10:42am | ! Report

        I hope Parker plays prop but Id be surprised if that happened tbh. That will just make NSW go forward even more dominant. If QLD are short a prop I think the article is correct in that Thaiday may move up as he has done with the Broncos.. McGuire has judiciary issues that may rule him out for game 1 so if there is a potential advantage to the blues, I believe the front row is where it lies at the moment & we will take any advantage we can get right now.

    • Roar Pro

      May 13th 2013 @ 8:35am
      The High Shot said | May 13th 2013 @ 8:35am | ! Report

      There’s also Nate Myles and Dave Taylor.

      • May 13th 2013 @ 9:31am
        cos789 said | May 13th 2013 @ 9:31am | ! Report

        As a NSW fan, I’d be pleased to see Dave Taylor called up. Butterfingers.

        • May 13th 2013 @ 10:44am
          Sideline Commentator said | May 13th 2013 @ 10:44am | ! Report

          Haha, yeah big Dave had a great game for the blues last year, almost singlehandedly won us the game.

          • May 13th 2013 @ 11:00am
            Jake said | May 13th 2013 @ 11:00am | ! Report

            And yet you still lost the series.

            • May 13th 2013 @ 11:31am
              Sideline Commentator said | May 13th 2013 @ 11:31am | ! Report

              Well he got dropped didn’t he, haha. Take a joke Jake.

              • May 13th 2013 @ 11:40am
                Jake said | May 13th 2013 @ 11:40am | ! Report

                Sorry, I did not realise that it was a ‘joke’. Aren’t they meant to be funny?

    • May 13th 2013 @ 8:44am
      db swannie said | May 13th 2013 @ 8:44am | ! Report

      Jacob Lillyman ,Played last yr ,does a great job..
      He will be on the bench.Playing well for a disappointing Warriors team.
      Another case of Outa sight outa mind.

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