My NSW State of Origin side

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By Luke Doherty, Luke Doherty is a Roar Guru

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    Coach Ricky Stuart gives instruction during the New South Wales State of Origin team training session. AAP Image/Dave Hunt

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    Months of debate will come to an end this afternoon when the New South Wales team for game one of the State of Origin series is named. 

    Well … it won’t really. Ricky Stuart could probably name three sides and still not satisfy everyone.

    This is who I believe should get the nod to take on the Maroons in Melbourne on May 23.

    1. Brett Stewart

    Showed superb acceleration to score in his comeback from injury in round eight against the Bulldogs. His ability to find and hit a hole is second only to Billy Slater. Had a rough night against the Broncos on Friday, but those are rare.

    2. Jarryd Hayne

    New South Wales will need some big bodies on the edges. Hayne isn’t a better fullback than Brett Stewart in my opinion, but needs to be in the team. He has shown an ability to break open a game from the wing before and if given the chance will do so again.

    3. Josh Morris

    The 25-year-old has been the form NSW centre in 2012. It seemed his career had stalled after being dropped to the NSW Cup last season, but has flourished under new coach Des Hasler scoring nine tries in 10 games.

    4. Chris Lawrence

    Ricky Stuart has been waiting for Lawrence to produce his best form, but so far it hasn’t come. The Australian international hasn’t been poor, but hasn’t set the world on fire either. Still, at least he’s playing first grade, which is more than can be said for Michael Jennings. Ivan Cleary dropped the Penrith flyer for a reason. Lawrence gets the spot by default.

    5. Aku Uate

    The Knights might not have been impressive in 2012, but Aku Uate is one of Ricky Stuart’s certainties. A winger with the size of a front-rower and the speed of a sprinter. What’s not to love?

    6. Todd Carney

    Carney has been building quietly this season and finally broke out of his shell with a superb performance against South Sydney last Monday night. His kicking game is also second to none. His familiarity with his likely halves partner is another huge bonus.

    7. Mitchell Pearce

    Pearce seemed to have had enough of the speculation and killed off the debate surrounding the number seven jersey by dominating for City against Country. His form for the Roosters since then has also been solid. Future captain if he wants it bad enough.

    8. James Tamou 

    Recently swapped the haka for Advance Australia Fair and somehow didn’t get poached by Queensland along the way despite playing his football with the North Queensland Cowboys. A mountain of a man who didn’t seemed phased in the slightest by his debut for the Kangaroos against New Zealand. Will handle State of Origin nicely.

    9. Robbie Farah

    He may not be shaking everyone’s hand in camp after having his credentials questioned by members of the coaching staff, but has made an irresistible case for inclusion. His ball playing ability combined with the option of a left foot kick out of dummy half gives New South Wales another outlet. The less predictable NSW can be the better. They need to give him the jersey for the entire series though.

    10. Paul Gallen

    Err… what’s left to be said? The only concern is a knee injury that flared up six-days ago, but you’d have to amputate his leg to stop him playing. He’ll battle through every minute of every game if he has to.

    11. Luke Lewis

    Luke Lewis would probably be the New South Wales captain if Paul Gallen wasn’t around. One of the toughest players in the NRL and won’t have to overplay his hand like he sometimes feels he has to at Penrith.

    12. Anthony Watmough

    Has calmed down in recent years, but still gets through an enormous amount of work. A constant menace who’ll test Queensland’s edges.

    13. Glenn Stewart

    Another who has only recently returned from injury. Combines toughness with great skill with the footy in hand. He also, not surprisingly combines extremely well with brother Brett. Picking players who already have an understanding of one another is the key against Queensland’s settled juggernaut. A possible suspension for a high tackle on Friday night against the Broncos is the only worry. Poor judiciary record won’t help if he’s charged.

    Interchange:

    14. Tariq Sims

    A forward built for representative football. One of the few shining lights for Country against City and he’s hungry for more.

    15. Greg Bird

    A luxury to have on the bench considering the current state of Queensland dominance. Grows another leg when playing in Sky Blue.

    16. Aaron Woods

    Some say he needs another 12-months, but the statistics being produced by the Wests Tigers young-gun suggests otherwise. No harm in giving him a taste of the big time so he’s more prepared next year.

    17. Josh Reynolds

    The surprise packet of the season. His effort is the same in the first minute as it is in the 79th. Could cover a range of positions and is one of the fiercest competitors I’ve seen on a football field for some time. He has heart and potential. Two key ingredients.

    Have Your Say



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    The Crowd Says (28)

    • May 13th 2012 @ 5:35am
      BennO said | May 13th 2012 @ 5:35am | ! Report

      That’s not a bad side at all. This is the thing that amazes me, through the past 6 years where our boys have dominated, NSW hasn’t consistently fielded a bad side. There’s plenty of talent there to topple the Maroons. This comment makes me think the problem is in the heads of the NSW officials:

      “He may not be shaking everyone’s hand in camp after having his credentials questioned by members of the coaching staff, ”

      Maybe I’ve got my maroon coloured glasses on but I just can’t imagine that happening to a QLDer, that a possible player would be publicly questioned like that by selectors and coaching staff. It might have happened when players like Hodges have absolute shockers but that’s an extreme case. Aside from that, I just can’t see it happening so when a player comes in from the fringe, he’s got the confidence of everyone around him (like the legend Adam Mogg!). Imagine running out onto the field knowing some blokes up in the box don’t think you belong out there. That’s got to eat away at your confidence and your game.

    • May 13th 2012 @ 6:43am
      steve b said | May 13th 2012 @ 6:43am | ! Report

      This is a good side you have picked ,, however not sure about Lawrence i think the two Morris boys should get a run they know each others game ,they can tackle . and they have got speed … and Stewart i think he will be canned by the judiciary. And your right about Reynoldsl he will give 110% in a blue jumper,, Mannah is also another player who lifts for the sky blue and will tackle all night .Anyhow not long to wait till we see how wrong or right we are ..I just hope Ricky goes with good speed and great defence because we are going to need both to topple the Maroons …

    • May 13th 2012 @ 7:41am
      Andy said | May 13th 2012 @ 7:41am | ! Report

      It is a good team but Jarryd Hayne on the wing i think would be a liability in defence and perhaps at scoring points. Aaron Woods is too inexperienced and not exactly a bench player where high work rate in a short period of time is essential. I think it is good that you did not include Tony Williams because he has been out for too long and needs to increase his defensive work rate for origin. Josh Reynolds is far too inexperienced for a bench spot.

    • May 13th 2012 @ 8:04am
      Brett said | May 13th 2012 @ 8:04am | ! Report

      Well for starters you need JENNINGS and TREX however the only other chaneg i would make would be lewis on the bench and bird starting with trex in place of reynolds because he is a douche player and i hate his ankle taps. Great team though

    • May 13th 2012 @ 8:26am
      yewonk said | May 13th 2012 @ 8:26am | ! Report

      firstly by having morris and lawrence are you confident they cannot only defend against there opposites but defend against sam thaiday and dave taylor pushing out wide.? secondly why have two utilities on the bench? thirdly i will eat my hat if the queenslanders dont run at least two tries through the phony that is mitchell pierce. fourthly arron woods over t rex?

    • May 13th 2012 @ 9:13am
      eagleJack said | May 13th 2012 @ 9:13am | ! Report

      I like your backline but would swap Jennings for Lawrence. I don’t care what Phil Gould and Ivan Cleary say about his form. He was dropped for disciplinary reasons and that is fact. He is back to his dangerous best and was the Panthers best against Manly and the Knights. 6 tries in 8 games as compared to zero tries last year at the same point. And it’s not as though the Panthers score many tries.

      Your forward pack is strong. Im still a believer in starting Gallen in the backrow and having Watmough on the bench. Bring in Weyman to start with Tamou to soften up the QLDers. But I am in the minority. My bench would be Hinchcliffe, Watmough, Sims and T-Rex. That is a dangerous and destructive bench.

      But I keep hearing that Creagh will be picked on the bench which is disgraceful to say the least.

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