17 reasons why New South Wales will win Origin 1

Tom Rock Columnist

By Tom Rock, Tom Rock is a Roar Expert

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112 Have your say

    The Blues will win Game 1 of the 2017 State of Origin series. That’s a fact. And here are 17 reasons why.

    1. James Tedesco – Speed. You can’t teach it. Sort of like Maths. Tedesco’s blistering pace makes him one of the most explosive ball runners in the NRL, and the obvious choice for the NSW number one jersey. His defensive positioning has been questionable at times, but with Queensland set to make minimal line breaks, the impact will be inconsequential.

    2. Jarryd Hayne – Too much talent and big game experience to leave out of the squad. While he’s had a slow start to the season, his form over the last month demands selection. Kick-off may need to be pushed out until around 9:30pm to accommodate a Hayne-heavy opening Gusalouge.

    3. Dylan Walker – A smokey. An Origin bolter. A hold-over from the previous regime. Call him what you will, but Walker has been one of the form centres in the competition in 2017 and deserves selection.

    4. Josh Dugan – Like Hayne, Dugan tends to save his best football for the representative stage. He was Australia’s best the other night before Russell Packer gave him a peck on the cheek, and was one of the Blues’ best last season. Strong defender. Even stronger ball runner. Closet trypanophobe.

    5. Blake Ferguson – I’m not a huge Ferguson fan. He lacks the ability to make even the simplest defensive read. But despite his football illiteracy, he’s big, fast, strong and experienced. That’s enough for Laurie.

    6. James Maloney – He’d be the first player I’d pick. Maloney was the Blues’ best last season. He straightens up the attack, has an impressive short kicking game, and is more resilient than the tread on George Christensen’s RMs. Even his defence has improved, with only 60 missed tackles through ten games.

    7. Mitchell Pearce – I wish there was a better option, I really do. But Pearce is the form halfback out of a slim list of applicants. As depressing as it sounds, he gives NSW the best chance to win. And doesn’t everybody deserve a 16th chance?

    Mitchell Pearce Sydney Roosters

    (AAP Image/Action Photographics, Grant Trouville)

    8. Andrew Fifita – The form prop in the competition. Outside of Jason Taumalolo, there is no one harder to stop with a full head of steam. Laurie may require him to wear head gear to minimise the possibility of brain explosions.

    9. Nathan Peats – I was tempted to go with Cameron McInness or Damien Cook, but Peats has the highest ceiling. If he’s the long-term successor to Robbie Farah, then let’s chuck him in there and see what he can do.

    10. David Klemmer – His form has been a little down this season, but the selectors are too scared to tell him. So he retains his spot as the NSW enforcer and will continue his ongoing battle with Sam Thaiday for the most third man ins. A very underrated statistic in the modern game.

    11. Boyd Cordner (c) – The robotic Roosters’ skipper looks all but certain to be handed the honour of captaining his state. And he’s well suited to the role. Cleaner than a preacher’s sheets, Cordner reminds me of high-quality vanilla ice cream: always delicious to eat, but perhaps lacking in variety. He will bring stability and consistency to one of the strongest forward packs NSW has rolled with in the last decade.

    12. Josh Jackson – Like Cordner, there aren’t too many strings to Jackson’s bow, but every arrow he unfurls hits the bullseye. Outside of Matt Gillett, Jackson is the strongest defensive second rower in the NRL, and his consistency of effort from minute one to minute 80 is a testament to his fitness and preparation. Won’t miss a tackle all night.

    13. Jake Trbojevic – The purist defender I’ve watched since Steven Menzies. Trbojevic exhibits textbook tackling technique, cutting down opposition ball runners like he’s wielding an M2. The defensive combination of Cordner, Jackson and Trbojevic will take the sting out of the Queensland attack during the early exchanges, and pave the way for Tyson Frizell and Wade Graham to have a significant impact off the bench.

    14. Shannon Boyd – A big, big man. Reminds me of one of those trolls out of The Hobbit, but with a better short passing game. Boyd gets the nod over Paul Vaughan based on his immense size and powerful running game. Tired Queensland defenders will not enjoy the sight of this jolly green giant lumbering onto the field. Just make sure you get him home before sunrise.

    15. Tyson Frizell – The pick of the forwards last series. While he might not rack up the SuperCoach points, he runs as hard as anyone in the competition.

    16. Wade Graham – Made for Origin. Graham’s rugged running style and fiercely competitive nature will give NSW incredible impact off the bench. The Cronulla forward will hound Johnathan Thurston from the moment he steps onto the pitch.

    17. Jack Bird – There aren’t too many positions that Bird can’t cover. Fullback, centre, five-eighth, second row. Think of him as a talented Kurt Gidley. Bird could probably take over the commentary if Ray Warren’s laryngitis flares up.

    Jack Bird of the Sharks

    (AAP Image/Paul Miller)

    And 17 Reasons Why Queensland can’t stop them
    All good things must come to an end, and Queensland’s time in the sun is up. Here are the 17 reasons why Queensland will start the series off with a loss:

    1. Billy Slater – Slater has played well in his return from injury, but that star-studded Storm side could make Justin Ryder look like an Origin fullback. Has Billy really been tested yet? We’re about to find out. NSW will use a KFC variety bucket of wrestling tactics to test out Slater’s loose labrum. Queensland would do well to bring alone a couple of spare slings.

    2. Valentine Holmes – Fresh off the news that Cronulla are willing to throw $1 million dollars a season at Josh Dugan, Holmes is rumoured to have a chronic case of the sads. Motivation may be an issue.

    3. Will Chambers – Always keen to get into a stink, particularly on the representative stage. With the referees now more inclined to use the sin bin, Chambers will likely find himself given a ten-minute break at some point during the match.

    4. Dane Gagai – All credit to Gagai for achieving the rare combination of playing for the Newcastle Knights and being selected for a representative side.

    5. Darius Boyd – Is it strange that the incumbent Queensland and Australian fullback gets pushed to the wing to accommodate a busted 33-year-old? Darius probably thinks so. With Greg Inglis unavailable to facilitate his four-point flops, Boyd will be rendered ineffectual on the wing.

    6. Johnathan Thurston – Despite requiring treatment for inhalation after excessive use of smoke and mirrors, Thurston is a certain starter for Game 1. Nursing a busted shoulder, the NSW edge forwards will target him early and often. Expect to see Wade Graham’s palm embossed on Thurston’s chest by night’s end.

    7. Cooper Cronk – With one eye on the Sydney property market and the other eye on the dwindling list of halfback vacancies, the lovesick number seven will have his mind on other things. Look for Cronk to arrive disorganised and ill-prepared, and then struggle to execute the Queensland game plan. Could be a liability.

    8. Nate Myles – His club form is down, his minutes have dropped, and his impact on a game of rugby league is barely noticeable. But rules are rules. Queensland selection policy mandates that if a player was in the team last series, and has not lost any limbs since the conclusion of that series, then he’s an automatic selection. Sounds archaic, but it seems to work.

    9. Cameron Smith – Still bitter over Cronk’s decision to break up the band and forge a solo career, Smith will ignore his halfback and funnel the majority of passes towards JT. With Queensland’s attack limited to one side of the field, they may struggle to post points.


    (AAP Image/Dean Lewins)

    10. Sam Thaiday – Not the same player he was a couple of years ago. Thaiday’s reputation is more powerful than his running games these days. Should be his last series.

    11. Josh Papalii – An Adam Gilchrist favourite. Papalii will bring a sense of honesty and integrity to the squad. His acceleration and precise hole running make him a danger on the edges, however he’s received a formal warning from Kevin Walters about turning himself in after committing foul play.

    12. Matt Gillett – Form player of the competition through ten rounds. He defence is punishing. Will be forced to carry the rest of the pack.

    13. Josh McGuire – Token niggler in the squad. McGuire will be tasked with stirring the pot as much as possible, with a particular focus on the likes of David Klemmer. If you see the Bulldogs forward bust out the Dale Steyne crazy eyes, then you know McGuire has done his job.

    14. Dylan Napa – The most exciting Fanta pants to enter the Origin cauldron since Brett Dallas. Although his entire reputation is based on a couple of big shots on Sam Burgess two years ago, you have to admit, they were pretty good tackles. Questionable stamina.

    15. Coen Hess – Looks like Ivan Drago, and plays like a young Shane Webcke. If you were picking a Queensland side based purely on form, he would be one of the first names mentioned. The Blues will become all too familiar with the name Coen Hess over the next decade. Will hopefully defect to the International Strongman Circuit.

    16. Jarrod Wallace – Has quietly enjoyed a strong start to the season for a patchy Titans side. With Matt Scott unavailable, the Maroons are in desperate need of big bodies, and Wallace fits the brief.

    17. Michael Morgan – Has struggled this season, particularly in the absence of Thurston, but his utility value and incumbency will ensure his selection. Expect him to be given minimal minutes and have limited impact.

    5th Tackle Option
    Here are five quick thoughts on the action from Round 10:

    1. After a week dominated by negative headlines, Round 10 was just what the doctor ordered. It was a feast of attacking rugby league. A massive total of 400 points were scored across the eight games, which is an average of 50 points per game. Great to watch, and much more interesting than talking about recreational drugs.

    2. Good call by Des Hasler to pull his players from the City versus Country clash. With the extra time off to prepare, the Dogs really turned up ready to play. Without it, Canterbury may have only stuck to their game plan for five minutes, rather than the ten-minute performance they put in on Thursday night.

    Josh Morris of the Canterbury Bulldogs

    (AAP Image/Dan Himbrechts)

    3. A Robbie Farah sighting! There’s no surer sign that Origin is just around the corner.

    4. That 80-minute performance sums up Penrith nicely. Atrocious defence, a general lack of organisation and composure, poor discipline, brilliant attacking football, the ability to score points from anywhere on the field, and limitless potential. The good news is the negatives can all be coached. With the right mentor, the Penrith Panthers could be anything.

    5. I’m not a Manly fan, but they were robbed on Saturday night. Brisbane scored as the direct result of two very suspect decisions, both of which should have resulted in penalties to the Sea Eagles. Watching the game unfold, I got that same sense of rage I often feel when watching Queensland receive favourable 50/50 calls in Origin.

    Tom Rock
    Tom Rock

    A fair-weather Newcastle Knights fan, Tom doesn?t leave anything on the field. He always gives 110% and never forgets to give full credit to the boys. But in a game of two halves, it?s important not to look too far ahead, so Tom?s just taking it one week at a time. Follow him on Twitter @_TomRock_.

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    The Crowd Says (112)

    • Roar Guru

      May 15th 2017 @ 7:26am
      Magnus M. Østergaard said | May 15th 2017 @ 7:26am | ! Report

      Completely disregarding this article due to your complete lack of ability in knowing where to pick a utlity. Utilities play in jumper 14, its not that hard.

      • Columnist

        May 15th 2017 @ 10:04am
        Tom Rock said | May 15th 2017 @ 10:04am | ! Report

        Harsh but fair. An honest oversight.

        • Roar Guru

          May 15th 2017 @ 8:38pm
          BigJ said | May 15th 2017 @ 8:38pm | ! Report

          Keep dreaming rocky qld will flog them

          • Columnist

            May 15th 2017 @ 9:56pm
            Tom Rock said | May 15th 2017 @ 9:56pm | ! Report

            Not this year champion. You blokes are done winning.

            • Roar Guru

              May 15th 2017 @ 10:38pm
              BigJ said | May 15th 2017 @ 10:38pm | ! Report

              We will see, here is something to take your mind off your delusional thoughts have a read of my team of the century 2.0 for qld list, ha ha

      • May 15th 2017 @ 12:58pm
        Jake said | May 15th 2017 @ 12:58pm | ! Report


        I’m hoping that was a joke? They can be played in any number. Kasiano & Sims played 14 on weekend. Are they utilities?

        • Roar Guru

          May 15th 2017 @ 2:40pm
          Magnus M. Østergaard said | May 15th 2017 @ 2:40pm | ! Report

          No Im serious Jake. Those teams didnt play utilities. Des picked Montoya as you have to pick 17 players and he didnt know who else to pick. Jai Field was also picked by Mary for the same purpose to warm the bench but unfortunately Aitken went completely against his coaches game plan and tore his hamstring on purpose forcing MAry to play him.

          • May 15th 2017 @ 7:23pm
            Jake said | May 15th 2017 @ 7:23pm | ! Report

            If you’re serious then this is even worse. Show me the rule in which they must be in the 14? There isn’t one.

          • May 15th 2017 @ 7:31pm
            Jake said | May 15th 2017 @ 7:31pm | ! Report

            NQC you better get in touch with SOO selectors and let them know about this rule. Just checked some stats and some of the better utility players (Bowen, Berrigan & Gids) played in all bench numbers with 17 being the main ones. Nice try though.

            • Columnist

              May 15th 2017 @ 7:33pm
              Tom Rock said | May 15th 2017 @ 7:33pm | ! Report

              I always thought they wore 17, but I admit I didn’t check.

      • May 15th 2017 @ 10:15pm
        Kramer said | May 15th 2017 @ 10:15pm | ! Report

    • May 15th 2017 @ 8:25am
      rl said | May 15th 2017 @ 8:25am | ! Report

      Mitch Pearce is proof that God (or deity of your choice): (a) has a sense of humour and (b) goes for Qld…

      • May 15th 2017 @ 8:37am
        Jimmmy said | May 15th 2017 @ 8:37am | ! Report

        It’s obvious where the Big Fella’s sympathies lie. Mitchell Pearce, the gift that keeps giving and you just know he will be there again,

      • May 15th 2017 @ 9:58am
        Chook said | May 15th 2017 @ 9:58am | ! Report

        Who says MP is a moral for a Jersey. Nobody wants to pick him, probably least of all Daley. My pick is Cody Walker at 5/8 and Maloney at half. If there is a more dangerous first receiver in the offing for a NSW jumper than Walker..Who is he??

        • Columnist

          May 15th 2017 @ 10:06am
          Tom Rock said | May 15th 2017 @ 10:06am | ! Report

          As poorly as Pearce has played at Origin level, which some people (not myself) argue is not that poorly, he is the form half option for NSW. Best of a bad bunch. He’ll be there, and may God have mercy on us all

          • May 15th 2017 @ 10:12am
            Chook said | May 15th 2017 @ 10:12am | ! Report

            When is the team being picked

            • Columnist

              May 15th 2017 @ 10:19am
              Tom Rock said | May 15th 2017 @ 10:19am | ! Report

              I think after Round 11.

        • May 15th 2017 @ 6:15pm
          soapit said | May 15th 2017 @ 6:15pm | ! Report

          syerlo’s been spruiking him a fair bit. be surprised if he’s not picked.

    • Roar Guru

      May 15th 2017 @ 8:29am
      Cadfael said | May 15th 2017 @ 8:29am | ! Report

      On the Blues side, at centre Dugan has shown that he is a very good fullback. Leave Pearce out of it. He has been playing SOO since 2008. NSW won in 2014 but Pearce was not part of that side.

      • Columnist

        May 15th 2017 @ 10:07am
        Tom Rock said | May 15th 2017 @ 10:07am | ! Report

        Dugan has to be in there somewhere. I can’t put him ahead of Tedesco, so centre is the next best option.

    • May 15th 2017 @ 8:33am
      GC Dave said | May 15th 2017 @ 8:33am | ! Report

      Only need one reason NSW can’t win the Origin series…again……Queensland.
      It doesn’t hurt to dream though. When you are South of the boarder, that’s all you have.
      Before the first is the time warp the NSW supporters are stuck in. Reality checks are few and far between.

      • Columnist

        May 15th 2017 @ 10:08am
        Tom Rock said | May 15th 2017 @ 10:08am | ! Report

        I have committed this comment to memory. Please check back in here on June 1st so I can tell you so.

        • May 15th 2017 @ 1:33pm
          GC Dave said | May 15th 2017 @ 1:33pm | ! Report

          Ahh you live in hope….every year.

          • Columnist

            May 15th 2017 @ 1:48pm
            Tom Rock said | May 15th 2017 @ 1:48pm | ! Report

            It’s a sickness. We can’t help it

    • May 15th 2017 @ 8:34am
      kk said | May 15th 2017 @ 8:34am | ! Report

      The Tom Rock Second Hand Car Yard.

      Hayne. Needs new starter motor and new tyres. Signs of rust.

      Dugan. In need of chassis alignment. Has been pranged.

      Ferguson. Hail damaged.

      Maloney. Best value car on the lot. Few minor dents from dud deals.

      Peats. Honest little 4cyl town car.

      Klemmer. Needs a new choke, de coat and valve grind.

      Boyd. Low miles diesel suitable for suburban deliveries.

      • May 15th 2017 @ 8:40am
        Jimmmy said | May 15th 2017 @ 8:40am | ! Report

        Pearce , flashest car on the lot, just don’t look under the Bonnett.

        • May 15th 2017 @ 9:23am
          Big Daddy said | May 15th 2017 @ 9:23am | ! Report

          Dog of a car

          • Columnist

            May 15th 2017 @ 10:09am
            Tom Rock said | May 15th 2017 @ 10:09am | ! Report

            Love your work Max.

          • May 15th 2017 @ 11:50am
            rl said | May 15th 2017 @ 11:50am | ! Report


      • May 15th 2017 @ 10:09am
        Mango Jack said | May 15th 2017 @ 10:09am | ! Report

        Hayne: That BMW you bought 3 years ago that you were so excited about. Still a nice car, but if you’re honest, you’re thinking about an upgrade.

      • Roar Guru

        May 15th 2017 @ 11:09am
        Con Scortis said | May 15th 2017 @ 11:09am | ! Report

        Very droll MAX, I love it!

        Does that make Laurie Daley the Jeremy Clarkson of the NRL? Seems like a good bloke but makes some poor decisions.

        • May 15th 2017 @ 1:50pm
          kk said | May 15th 2017 @ 1:50pm | ! Report

          Greetings Con Scortis,

          Laurie is a dreamer and salesman extraordinaire.

          Forgiveness is the most noble of all human traits. Laurie can work his continuing
          failures as coach and selector with the same political aplomb as did Reagan and
          Clinton work a convention, especially when forgiveness was essential to survival.

          As for Jeremy. A WIP forever and ever. Syrup or Sticky Toffee. Torque or Talk.

      • May 15th 2017 @ 11:49am
        rl said | May 15th 2017 @ 11:49am | ! Report

        Tamou – always enters heavy traffic in reverse

    • Roar Guru

      May 15th 2017 @ 8:54am
      Will Sinclair said | May 15th 2017 @ 8:54am | ! Report

      For the first time in ages I really think NSW can and will win the Origin series.

      People will focus on Mitchell Pearce, or the hooker, and will miss the real reason – NSW will be simply dominant up front. The Blues forwards – particularly through the middle third of the field – are massively superior to what QLD can offer.

      NSW will be able to rotate Fifita, Klemmer, Boyd, J Turbo, Frizell and De Bellin (and later Woods) throughout the match, and I think it will eventually wear the Maroons down and blunt many of their (already reduced) weapons.

      In response QLD can offer what? Nate Myles? Sam Thaiday (who is a good player, but is on the edge and off the bench at club level), Napa and Wallace?

      I just really can’t see them matching the Blues wealth of options up-front.

      • Roar Guru

        May 15th 2017 @ 9:03am
        Magnus M. Østergaard said | May 15th 2017 @ 9:03am | ! Report

        I have thought the same thing for the last 2 years Will…

        • May 15th 2017 @ 9:22am
          Mango Jack said | May 15th 2017 @ 9:22am | ! Report

          I was about to say that. NSW have had a superior forward pack for a few years now, but with Cronk and JT, QLD only need 30% possession to rack up a winning score.

        • May 15th 2017 @ 9:24am
          souvalis said | May 15th 2017 @ 9:24am | ! Report

          Blues have brawn rolling out their ears..it’s always been about brains..

          • May 15th 2017 @ 10:08am
            MonkeyMayes said | May 15th 2017 @ 10:08am | ! Report

            Good point. Point the finger at Pearce all you like, but maybe there’s also some accountability required from the coach when it comes to strategy and tactics. Can somebody name one thing they’ve seen Daley employ tactically against the QLD brains trust of Smith, Thurston, Cronk and Boyd?

            • Roar Guru

              May 15th 2017 @ 10:15am
              Will Sinclair said | May 15th 2017 @ 10:15am | ! Report

              In 2014 Daley was very effective at exposing Thurston’s defensive weaknesses. Hayne in particular ran over JT multiple times in that series.

              • May 15th 2017 @ 11:16am
                Pedro the Maroon said | May 15th 2017 @ 11:16am | ! Report

                2014 was decided when Cronk was injured in game 1.
                Even then Qld would have won the series had Thaiday not spilled the pill over the line in a Hayne tackle.
                SOO comes down to little things like that and everyone will tell you that a champion side makes it own luck. Losers moan they are unlucky.
                All power to NSW for squeaking past Qld in 2014.
                But picking Pearce, Morris, Fifita, Klemmer etc – means there’s a lot of proven losers on the paddock. It’s a huge mental mountain to climb.
                I personally hope Pearce is selected just watch how he handles the pressure. Maybe he has matured?

              • May 15th 2017 @ 1:40pm
                MonkeyMayes said | May 15th 2017 @ 1:40pm | ! Report

                I guess I was looking for something a little more creative than ‘big guy running at little guy’

        • Roar Guru

          May 15th 2017 @ 10:14am
          Will Sinclair said | May 15th 2017 @ 10:14am | ! Report

          Yeah I agree Vincent.

          But I think the Blues HAVE dominated upfront for the past two years (and really should have won the 2015 series), and I think that dominance is only going to be more prevalent this season with no Matt Scott.

          Also it’s obvious that they will weakened by the loss of Thurston and Inglis.

          And the players the Maroons have relied on for a decade are a year older, and the Blues younger players are peaking.

          • Columnist

            May 15th 2017 @ 10:22am
            Tom Rock said | May 15th 2017 @ 10:22am | ! Report

            You really think Thurston won’t play Will? I know Kevy Walters has been putting on the hard sell, but QLD do this kind of thing every series. They will somehow manipulate things to make themselves the underdog.

          • Roar Guru

            May 15th 2017 @ 10:35am
            Magnus M. Østergaard said | May 15th 2017 @ 10:35am | ! Report

            And CP13 is also out this year. He made the most metres from our forwards last year and 3rd was Matt Scott (although Scott only averaged 90m/game.)

            This is probably NSWs best chance in the last couple of years but so much of it depends on the selections. I don’t know what the right ones are and I don’t know what the wrong ones are, but you will know if its a good NSW team or a poor one as soon as the squad is named. WIll be interesting to see the QLD Squad as well with 3 long term players out with injury.

            100% expect JT to play too btw.

            • Columnist

              May 15th 2017 @ 10:42am
              Tom Rock said | May 15th 2017 @ 10:42am | ! Report

              Agree Vince. Thurston will be there, and will probably have a blinder.

              And you are right, this will be NSW’s best chance to win the series. QLD are missing a few big names from last series, and guys that can’t really be replaced. If the Blues don’t win this one, then they may as well wait it out until Thurston, Smith and Cronk all retire before having another crack.

              • Roar Guru

                May 15th 2017 @ 1:35pm
                Will Sinclair said | May 15th 2017 @ 1:35pm | ! Report

                If Thurston plays with a busted wing it could get a bit ugly for him…

                Not the most robust defender at the best of times.

              • Columnist

                May 15th 2017 @ 2:03pm
                Tom Rock said | May 15th 2017 @ 2:03pm | ! Report

                Plus Graham will be hitting him all night if Thurston passes at the line. He’ll be lucky to play the full 80 minutes

              • Roar Guru

                May 15th 2017 @ 3:33pm
                Magnus M. Østergaard said | May 15th 2017 @ 3:33pm | ! Report

                Underestimate Thurston at your own peril Tom

        • May 15th 2017 @ 2:15pm
          Jimmmy said | May 15th 2017 @ 2:15pm | ! Report

          Hi NQC, funny I have thought that pretty much every year since 1980 but QLD keep finding Unfashionable forwards that perform in Origin. I give you Marty Bella , Dalllas Johnson , Gary Larson and a hundred others.
          QLD much more than just a state of mind.

      • May 15th 2017 @ 9:26pm
        Bonza said | May 15th 2017 @ 9:26pm | ! Report

        Just follow the Shark’s blueprint which saw off the Cowboys in last year’s semi and Storm twice since then. Aggressive in your face defence coupled with ball movement from side to side with hard running.
        It seems to work.

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