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My Origin team is better than Ryan O’Connell’s

64 Have your say

    Instead of leaving my trademark snide remarks in the comment feed, I thought I’d respond to Ryan O’Connell’s breathlessly-awaited announcement of his New South Wales team with my own Blues outfit, accompanied by some (inevitable) observations in relation to our individual choices.

    No time to waste: ladies and germs, here is the best New South Wales team one could pick in order to defeat Queensland, who must go in as favourites.

    Fullback: Ben Barba
    One thing O’Connell said on which we completely agree is that the Blues need to take some chances if they’re to beat Queensland. In the absence of a fully fit and in-form Brett Stewart, New South Wales must give Barba a run.

    Yes, there are question marks defensively, but this is a player who is Billy Slater Lite, able to run off the forwards and give his halves a dangerous option in attack.

    Brett Morris is a superb finisher but doesn’t have the broken-play creativity this kid has. Josh Dugan has not been healthy and hasn’t shown as much brilliance as Barba through six rounds.

    Wingers: Akuila Uate and Brett Morris
    Uate is the best winger in the world. Enough said. Morris should play where he’s at his best.

    Centres: Michael Jennings and Josh Morris
    O’Connell has picked Jarryd Hayne, and in doing so has clearly demonstrated that he is one of many who’ve been suffering vision impairment since 2009.

    Hayne has not been the same player for a long time now, and Phil Gould was right on the money in saying he needs surgery – the guy is slow, which says nothing of the questions surrounding his passion and commitment to the game.

    I do not trust Hayne standing up to Hodges and Inglis over 80 minutes. Regarding Jennings, I have strong reservations – he still has too many mistakes in him, but given the lack of lethal attacking centres available he has to play.

    Five-eighth: Todd Carney

    O’Connell os spot on with this one, although calling Carney a “freak” is a little over the top.

    Having said that, he’s the Blues’ best attacking option, a man who can lead this team, which can’t be said of Jamie Soward, a solid player who would struggle to stay in first grade without his kicking game. Terry Campese’s not yet back to the guy he was, leaving Carney as the clear choice.

    Halfback: Jarrod Mullen
    This could have gone many ways, but I will say that it’s tremendous to see someone other than myself tell the truth about Mitchell Pearce, which is that he will never be more than a decent first-grade halfback.

    It intends no disrespect to the man – that level is an achievement in itself. But Origin? No way.

    Mullen is the only alternative who has made enough of an impact in attack while maintaining good form in every game he’s played. I was liking Luke Walsh for a while, but he’s been quiet recently.

    Lock and back row: Glenn Steward, Paul Gallen, Anthony Watmough

    Wow. I didn’t expect to agree with Ryan this much, but he’s going the right way here again, with a good balance of ballplaying (Stewart), power grind (Watmough) and… Paul Gallen.

    Stewart may have to leave the field for periods, given his injury problems this year, but he’s world-class.

    Props: Michael Weyman and James Tamou

    Kade Snowden has a lot of fans, but I must say I’ve been disappointed with his legspeed to start the season.

    Sometimes young props need to be prepared to increase the intensity of their hitups as they develop – in Origin it’s not enough to gain metres; forwards have to push the defence back if they want to provide their playmakers with any platform.

    He could take a leaf out of Anthony Watmough’s book. The other spot was wide open but Weyman just has the smell of Origin mongrel about him – reminds me a little of Martin Bella.

    Hooker: Danny Buderus

    At his best, Buderus was one of top New South Wales players of all time in this position (Cameron Smith and Steve Walters being the other two).

    That said, he is not the same player, lacking the lethal speed and destructiveness he used to possess out of dummy half. But the fact is that the hooking options are thin right now for NSW. This guy has done it before, and will go beyond himself every time he takes the field.

    Bench : Tony Williams, Beau Scott, Luke Lewis, Brett Steward
    Just when O’Connell had impressed me with his assessment of Mitchell Pearce, he goes ahead and drinks the Kurt Gidley cool-aid.

    Gidley has been overrated for a long time – a good player who has never been great, and has proven himself to be anything but the answer at Origin level, especially when injured.

    Yes, I know Tony Williams won’t have played for a while, but New South Wales desperately needs his explosiveness. Beau Scott is a tremendous athlete who can play in the centres.

    Luke Lewis is Luke Lewis, and Brett Stewart, while not having done enough to secure a starting spot, is a man who can replace Barba if he’s struggling or in a circumstance where Barba needs to go into dummy half, something I’d like to see regardless.

    So there it is. Will this team defeat Queensland? I wouldn’t bet on it, when that team can trot out a core like Slater, Inglis, Thurston, Cronk, Thaiday, C. Smith, Matt Scott.

    But I can say that, unlike previous years, it has a chance.

    What do you say, O’Connell?

    Have Your Say

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    The Crowd Says (64)

    • Roar Guru

      April 13th 2012 @ 4:11pm
      Jiggles said | April 13th 2012 @ 4:11pm | ! Report

      Ben Barba is from Queensland…

      • April 13th 2012 @ 5:39pm
        bjt said | April 13th 2012 @ 5:39pm | ! Report

        Maybe he could replace him with Darius Boyd?

        • Roar Guru

          April 14th 2012 @ 2:20pm
          MG Burbank said | April 14th 2012 @ 2:20pm | ! Report

          Touche, bjt. I had a brain explosion.

          • April 14th 2012 @ 5:14pm
            bjt said | April 14th 2012 @ 5:14pm | ! Report

            Actually, I thought you were doing a spoof to start with and putting together a Queensland A side. As in that’s the only team that could beat Queensland. Now that would be game!

            Either way you had me laughing!

      • Roar Guru

        April 14th 2012 @ 1:55am
        MG Burbank said | April 14th 2012 @ 1:55am | ! Report

        I knew that. Wishful thinking.

      • Roar Guru

        April 14th 2012 @ 2:05am
        MG Burbank said | April 14th 2012 @ 2:05am | ! Report

        MG BURBANK HERE, wishing to apologize for one of the greatest brain explosions in the history of sports writing. I know my many enemies will leap upon me like a pack of wolves for this one, to which i say BRING IT ON. Consider this my one mistake for 2012. In the absence of Barba please allow me to slot Stewart in off the bench- which is why he was there all along.

    • April 13th 2012 @ 4:16pm
      Jimbo Jones said | April 13th 2012 @ 4:16pm | ! Report

      Ben Barba is a QLDer..

      • April 13th 2012 @ 4:27pm
        Barry said | April 13th 2012 @ 4:27pm | ! Report

        I cant believe Weyman is wanted in the team if this is the best we can come up with then NSW is a joke and if he thinks Mullen is the best halfback in NSW then this team is a joke and if Mannah is 1 of our best props say hello to 7 straight series

        • Roar Guru

          April 14th 2012 @ 1:56am
          MG Burbank said | April 14th 2012 @ 1:56am | ! Report

          I agree that the prop stocks are pretty low right now but playing in multiple losing series shouldn’t be considered an asset. Mannah is a trier but not at Origin level at this point.

      • Roar Guru

        April 14th 2012 @ 2:20pm
        MG Burbank said | April 14th 2012 @ 2:20pm | ! Report

        An awful unforced error on my part, Jimbo, which is not likely to be forgotten by the Roar crowd for many a day.

    • April 13th 2012 @ 4:25pm
      Barry said | April 13th 2012 @ 4:25pm | ! Report

      Wayne Bennett reckons Mullen is a 5/8 and Pesrce is the best halfback in NSW are you saying hes an average halfback I reckon he’s a really good one not better than JT, Cronk or Cherry-Evans of course but hes up there hes better than Moltzen, Wallace, Mullen, Hodkinson, Sandow etc. Look at his stats and his kicking game what did he do wrong in 2011 are u saying Mullen is our best option what rep experirnce has he got nothing has he any experience with Carney how many try assists and offloads Pearce beats him in all these areas he made a try in game 1 and created 2. Look how close we came in 2011 our problem was all the errors we made why did guys like Mannah, Jason King, Watmough get picked in the team we need to get the best NSW team we can thats Dugan, Uate, Jennings, Tony Williams, Brett Morris, Carney, Pearce, Snowden, Buderus, Tolman, Sims, G Stewart, Gallen, Lewis, Ennis, Fensom, Bird

      • Roar Guru

        April 14th 2012 @ 1:58am
        MG Burbank said | April 14th 2012 @ 1:58am | ! Report

        No Barry, Pearce is indeed average. Mullen can play either position but we need Carney so he should shift. Ennis is another overrated player.

    • Columnist

      April 13th 2012 @ 4:27pm
      Ryan O'Connell said | April 13th 2012 @ 4:27pm | ! Report

      What do I say?

      I say, first of all, thank you for submitting your team. Secondly, your team isn’t that far off from mine, so I don’t have too many issues with it. I obviously think my side is better, but it’s all subjective at this point.

      A few things to note:
      – As mentioned above, Barba is a Queenslander, so you’re not off to a flyer!
      – Hayne is not in 2009 form, but it’s a brave man that leaves him out of the Origin side. And right centre is a problem area, so that’s where I had him pegged in.
      – You’re picking a back-up fullback on the bench? You must not have nay confidence in Barba. Either that, or you did know he was a Maroon all along and that you’d have to replace him. Yes, Gidley has become over-rated in recent times, but he’s still NSW’s best utility player.

      Cheers MG

      • April 13th 2012 @ 5:10pm
        eagleJack said | April 13th 2012 @ 5:10pm | ! Report

        Ryan I agree with your sentiments on having Brett Stewart on the bench. If he doesn’t start at fullback then he isn’t in the team. Simple.

        I also believe Lewis needs to start ahead of Watmough. Bring Watmough on when you bring on Williams and Gidley (or Hinchcliffe). Move Gallen up to prop at this point. This will improve the speed around the ruck and we can watch in awe as Williams destructively takes apart the Maroons defence.

        And MG not sure what you were thinking with Barba. I know he was born in the NT but you should know that you only have to have had a holiday in QLD for them to claim somebody.

        • April 13th 2012 @ 5:40pm
          bjt said | April 13th 2012 @ 5:40pm | ! Report

          Where’s Uate from again?

          • April 13th 2012 @ 5:47pm
            eagleJack said | April 13th 2012 @ 5:47pm | ! Report

            A small, rural town in northern NSW called Fiji

            • April 14th 2012 @ 11:26am
              Dean - Surry Hills said | April 14th 2012 @ 11:26am | ! Report

              A mere stones-throw from Greg Inglis’s hometown on the Kempsey/Coollangatta border.

            • April 14th 2012 @ 9:49pm
              bjt said | April 14th 2012 @ 9:49pm | ! Report

              Is that anywhere near where Sterlo was born?

              • April 14th 2012 @ 9:55pm
                Big john said | April 14th 2012 @ 9:55pm | ! Report

                Just round the corner from Willie Masons house, in Auckland

        • Roar Guru

          April 14th 2012 @ 8:35am
          MG Burbank said | April 14th 2012 @ 8:35am | ! Report

          Lol. Agreed, Eagle. Brain explosion on my part. Should be more thorough. Watmough has that extra bit of aggression and power in his hitup for mine, making him preferable for the high-energy first 20 minutes. But it’s a toss-up. Gallen has shown improved skill with the ball in recent years, and as a result he’s more destructive on the edges.

        • Roar Guru

          April 14th 2012 @ 8:42am
          MG Burbank said | April 14th 2012 @ 8:42am | ! Report

      • Roar Guru

        April 14th 2012 @ 2:01am
        MG Burbank said | April 14th 2012 @ 2:01am | ! Report

        Yeah Ryan, I blew it on the Barba call. A gigantic brain explosion, and yes, I would still have Brett Stewart in the team (I’d be starting him now that I’ve been duly corrected on Barba).
        Not that brave on Hayne; if you watch his contributions closely over the last couple of years, he simply doesn’t bring enough to the table if not fully fit and in top form.
        Overall, we weren’t far apart. Thanks for reading.

        MG Burbank

    • April 13th 2012 @ 4:32pm
      mushi said | April 13th 2012 @ 4:32pm | ! Report


    • April 13th 2012 @ 4:38pm
      Dan said | April 13th 2012 @ 4:38pm | ! Report

      Um sorry MG but ryans side was better and better by a long way

      Comment left via The Roar’s iPhone app. Download The Roar’s iPhone App in the App Store here.

      • Roar Guru

        April 14th 2012 @ 8:43am
        MG Burbank said | April 14th 2012 @ 8:43am | ! Report

        Untrue, Dan. Gidley’s overrated, Hayne’s hurt, Dugan’s hurt- how is it better?

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