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Time to speculate about Blues Origin team

Roar Guru
27th April, 2012
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Roar Guru
27th April, 2012
62
2273 Reads

It’s that time of year again, when everyone has their crack at naming their Origin team.

It must be one of the few advantages of being a Blues fan at the moment, that we get to have these spirited discussions on the make-up of our side.

For Queenslanders, their only point of contention will be over whether they pick Daly Cherry-Evans or Ben Barba on the bench.

Backs
1. Jarryd Hayne
2. Akuila Uate
3. Michael Jennings
4. Josh Morris
5. Brett Morris
6. Todd Carney
7. Mitchell Pearce

While I think Hayne’s form is good enough at the moment to warrant selection I’d feel a lot more comfortable if he could pull out a big game or two before Origin I.

I’m not 100 percent convinced of his fitness, but he could rotate with Morris between wing and fullback. A lot of clubs already do this.

Dugan and Stewart haven’t played enough footy recently but if either has a big month they could usurp Hayne in my XVII.

This three-quarter line is absolutely dynamic. Pairing two left-sided centres in Morris and Jennings would necessitate one switching to the right – probably Josh.

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I recall these guys pairing in 2009 and being a real attacking threat.

I can’t think of a better wing pairing than Uate and Morris. Ferguson has really put himself in the frame after his big game for Country but still has a few too many brain explosions in his game for mine.

This is a potent backline that would have the Queenslanders planning for the contest, instead of just worrying about their own game.

Pearce has been much maligned this year but I’m one in the minority who thinks that he’s been going much better than he’s been given credit for. I wasn’t surprised to see his big game in Mudgee because his attacking game has been pretty sharp for a lot of the season. His kicking game has been spot on as well.

Carney has been building nicely into 2012 and I reckon he will be steaming by the time Origin comes around. He looks to be a bit bigger in the upper body than in the past. His kicking game is booming as well and he has a good combination with Pearce. I really don’t think there’s another viable alternative to Carney and Pearce.

Forwards
8. Paul Gallen
9. Michael Ennis
10. Mick Weyman
11. Anthony Watmough
12. Tony Williams
13. Luke Lewis

I’d prefer to see Gallen in the back row but given that we have so many options there and limited props I think it’s best for the team that he’s up front.

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Mick Weyman was pretty ordinary last time he played for the Blues, but he was carrying a long-standing groin injury. I’ve been ultra impressed with his form this year and he deserves another shot.

Watmough and Lewis pick themselves and can play big minutes if necessary. Watmough can even rotate through the front row.

Tony Williams is suspended and will be lacking match fitness, but it’s not like he’s coming back from injury.

He’s too big and too good to leave out and he can be used in 15-20 minute bursts, if necessary.

I’d start him for the early exchanges and then bring him back in the second half if he’s blowing too hard.

Ricky has the option of pulling a last-minute selection surprise by putting him back on the bench, bringing a prop into the 13 and moving Gallen back to the back-row.

I think the selectors will go for Buderus, but I’d find it too difficult to leave Ennis out. I know I’m in the overwhelming minority on this one but I’ll back him to come good.

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Bench
14. Feleti Mateo
15. Ryan Hinchcliffe
16. James Tamou
17. Tariq Sims

I’ve gone mainly for impact off the bench – Gallen, Lewis and Watmough from the starting team can all play large amounts of game time and don’t need to be rotated off every 20 minutes.

That allows the coach to be more selective when he brings the guys off the bench and into the game.

Mateo offers a ball player from the bench and someone who can cover the inside backs if necessary.

I think his line running and offloads could be a killer late in the first half. He also seems a more powerful player since joining the Warriors.

Hinchcliffe offers the versatility of being able to rotate with Ennis or can be part of the back-row rotation. He’s an absolute workhorse.

Sims showed in the City versus Country game that he’s a must off the bench because of his size, strength and footwork. He’ll be a cornerstone of Blues sides for years.

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I thought Tamou handled his Test debut well and has a bit of size about him. A lack of depth in the front row gives him a walk-up start.

Of the players that missed out, Glenn Stewart hasn’t been on the park often enough of late and lacks the impact of a Tony Williams.

Greg Bird misses out as well, but both are ready for a call-up if there are any injuries.

Tom Learoyd Lars is in line if either Tamou or Sims faces time on the sidelines due to injury or suspension.

I reckon Kade Snowden will get a run for New South Wales but I need to see more consistency from him. When he’s on he rips and tears, but other times sulks and goes missing.

I’m not convinced of the Origin-worthiness of Hunt, Merrin and Mannah. Aaron Woods is a player of the future but Luke Douglas is probably my back-up prop.

Chris Lawrence is unlucky as he always seems to be injured come Origin time. While he’s on the park this year, he’s slightly off the boil.

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Gidley comes in if Hinchcliffe is out.

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