New South Wales team of the century 2.0

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    After naming my updated Queensland State of Origin team of the century last week, it’s time to check out the Blues’ best 18 players since 1980.

    Given the team of the century was named in 2008, this allows us to look at an updated version.

    1. Fullback – Jarryd Hayne
    The Hayne plane is one of the best fullbacks of all time. The Dally M Medal winner left for the NFL then came back to the NRL and although his 2017 hasn’t been his best year, he deserves his spot here.

    2. Winger – Eric Grothe Senior
    On of the best wingers to ever lace up a boot, Grothe Snr was so entertaining to watch. A must have for this team.

    3. Centre – Andrew Ettingshausen
    You can’t have a Blues backline without ET, the centre of a generation and one of the Sharks’ and Blues’ best players. Never seen anybody like him before or since.

    4. Centre- Steve Rogers
    If you can’t have a team without ET then you definitely need Rogers right there by his side, this would be the best centre pairing that NSW could produce and place a firm spine in the backline.

    5. Winger – Micheal O’Connor
    Still holds the record for top-scoring Blue (129) and try-scorer (11). I can remember a couple of times where O’Connor stole the game from Queensland with the kick of his boot.

    6. Five-eighth – Brett Kenny
    If not for Wally Lewis, he was the best five-eighth of all time. The way Kenny could control the game and take charge of the field was majestic.

    7. Halfback – Peter Sterling
    Recently, Roarer Judge Holden, in his piece Judgement time: The ten best halves partnerships in rugby league history rated Sterling and Kenny at number two as the best halves pairing of all time.

    I agree with this and place these two together for the NSW team of the century. Sterling is the best halfback of his time is probably within the top three of all time, so he definitely has to be in this 17.

    Peter Sterling

    (Bidgee / Wikimedia Commons)

    8. Prop – Glenn Lazarus
    Leading up front is Lazarus, not only was he great for the Raiders, Broncos and Storm but he was a fantastic and reliable prop for the Blues.

    9. Hooker – Andrew Johns
    Now, I was going to go with Benny Elias as hooker, but Joey has played there for the Blues – why not have an Immortal in the run-on side? Joey can combine with halves Sterling and Kenny, which will only add strength to the side.

    10. Prop – Paul Harragon
    ‘The Chief’ is potentially most consistent player in New South Wales history and needs his spot in the front row. Harragon played 20 games in a row for NSW, leading the charge up front.

    11. Second Row – Paul Sironen
    Can’t have this team without Big Siro. A hard man who is a NSW legend. One of the best second rowers in the late 80s and early 90s that still sets the standard for today’s players.

    12. Second Row – Mark Carroll
    NSW has had their share of big men over the years and ‘Spud was’ definitely one of those hard-hitting big men. Not afraid to put his body on the line, Carroll is the perfect addition to a huge front line for NSW.

    13. Lock – Paul Gallen (c)
    To round up the best pack that NSW has to offer, Gallen also has the honour of leading the Blues out onto the field.

    Paul Gallen takes up the ball in Origin 2

    (Photo: AAP)

    14. Interchange – Brad Fittler
    The most capped player for NSW has to have his spot as a utility player. Fittler can pretty much slot in anywhere in the halves or backline.

    15. Interchange – Steve Roach
    A perfect replacement for the front row, Roach could easily fit into any position in the scrum. He gave it all for the Blues and deservedly gets a place in this side.

    16. Interchange – Paul McGregor
    A man that could easily replace ET or Rogers in the centres and keep things going strong in the back line.

    17. Interchange – Ian Roberts
    Another big man who could easily fit into the front or second row without any problems, Roberts was a reliable player and a hard hitter.

    18. Reserve – Robbie Farah
    Farah is a player that could be brought into the team as a second hooker or halfback and has been at the forefront of the Blues for a decade.

    As with the Queensland list, let’s round it out with the top ten.
    10. Andrew Ettinghausen
    9. Michael O’Connor
    8. Paul Harragon
    7. Glenn Lazarus
    6. Steve Rogers
    5. Brett Kenny
    4. Jarryd Hayne
    3. Brad Fittler
    2. Peter Sterling
    1. Andrew Johns

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