Andrew Fifita to be the next Paul Gallen in Origin

David Lord Columnist

By David Lord, David Lord is a Roar Expert

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    For most of his 24 Origin appearances, Paul Gallen was the NSW spearhead, doing the hard yards in possession.

    Come Wednesday week it will be Andrew Fifita who last night turned in a blinder for the Sharks to turn a 14-0 half time deficit against the Cowboys into an outstanding 18-14 success at Shark Park.

    Fifita was superb, he’s been getting more destructive every week as Queensland will soon find out.

    It was a spine-tingling fightback worthy of the reigning premiers.

    Fifita is one of only four automatic picks in my NSW Origin squad, alongside James Tedesco, James Maloney, and Boyd Cordner, the new captain.

    Only four automatics out of 17 proves how many deserved hopefuls are at coach Laurie Daley’s disposal.

    Tedesco will welcome a return to playing among the elite, rather than the ragged Tigers, so expect a match-winning performance from the fullback.

    Maloney has no peer in the No.6 jersey, while his goal-kicking is worthy of selection alone, and Cordner has proved as the Roosters co-captain he’s ready to take over from Gallen.

    Then it gets interesting.

    The tricky selection is what to do with Jarryd Hayne who will always be a genuine Origin competitor – centre or wing?

    That decision was easy to make when I selected the express speed merchants in the centres – Michael Jennings and James Roberts – has there ever been a faster centre combination at Origin level?

    That meant Hayne, who must be there, will be on the wing with Blake Ferguson.

    It’s hard to leave Jack Bird and Matt Moylan out of the starting line-up, both would do NSW proud, but they can’t compete with the speed of Jennings and Roberts.

    That leaves halfback and I was very tempted to select Adam Reynolds over Mitchell Pearce.

    Reynolds’ goal-kicking would be handy if Maloney had a rare off day, and his territory kicking is superior to Pearce,

    But Pearce has turned his life around and very much instrumental in the Rooster revival.

    He’s also had plenty of experience playing alongside Maloney before he moved to the Sharks.

    Mitchell Pearce Sydney Roosters

    (AAP Image/Action Photographics, Grant Trouville)

    So for Origin 1, Pearce gets the nod on the understanding it’s his last chance to fire at this level with Reynolds kicking his door down,

    Up front, the big battle for the hooking job rests with incumbent Robbie Farah, Nathan Peats, and Peter Wallace.

    It was interesting to see two hooking legends in Max Krilich and Benny Elias went for Farah.

    But with respect, the way Peats competed with Cameron Smith in the Titans shock win over the Melbourne Storm put Peats at the top of the class.

    With Fifita locked in, the other prop position rests with Aaron Woods, David Klemmer, James Tamou, Paul Vaughan, with Woods my pick.

    He, like Tigers teammate Tedesco, will relish being back among the elite.

    With Cordner locked in there are many contenders to partner him in the second row – Josh Jackson, Wade Graham, Trent Merrin, Jake Trbojevic, Tyson Frizell, and Klemmer – all quality performers.

    I’ve selected Graham in a photo finish with Jackson, who can fill the lock position just as well – both deserve starting line-up status.

    That leaves the bench with Bird, Moyland, Klemmer, and Trbojevic.

    My NSW team for Origin 1
    James Tedesco, Blake Ferguson, Michael Jennings, James Roberts, Jarryd Hayne, James Maloney, Mitchell Pearce, Andrew Fifita, Nathan Peats, Aaron Woods, Boyd Cordner (c), Wade Graham, and Josh Jackson.

    Bench: Jack Bird, Matt Moylan, David Klemmer, and Jake Trbojevic.

    David Lord
    David Lord

    David Lord was deeply involved in two of the biggest sporting stories - World Series Cricket in 1977 and professional rugby in 1983. After managing Jeff Thomson and Viv Richards during WSC, in 1983 David signed 208 of the best rugby players from Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales and France to play an international pro circuit. The concept didn?t get off the ground, but it did force the IRB to get cracking and bring in the World Rugby Cup, now one of the world?s great sporting spectacles

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    The Crowd Says (52)

    • Roar Rookie

      May 19th 2017 @ 8:03am
      Squidward said | May 19th 2017 @ 8:03am | ! Report

      Insert bitter queenslander comment about punching Nate in the head

      • May 19th 2017 @ 8:59am
        Jimmmy said | May 19th 2017 @ 8:59am | ! Report

        Surely you punch Nate Miles anywhere but in the head . He didn’t even blink after the first punch.

        • May 19th 2017 @ 3:03pm
          Pedro the Maroon said | May 19th 2017 @ 3:03pm | ! Report

          So to be the next Gallen, Fifita gets to win 1 series out of 10 – and a flukey win at that when a key Queenslander is injured.
          Stand up and take a bow David Fifita.

          • May 20th 2017 @ 7:00am
            soapit said | May 20th 2017 @ 7:00am | ! Report

            because nsw never had any injuries in the 9 losses.

            i think with 9 out of 10 wins you can afford not to be a bad loser

      • Roar Rookie

        May 19th 2017 @ 10:02am
        josh said | May 19th 2017 @ 10:02am | ! Report

        Queensland still has a good laugh at poor old Gall’s best effort. Note Myles’ reaction; zero.

      • May 19th 2017 @ 12:27pm
        Greg said | May 19th 2017 @ 12:27pm | ! Report

        Must be the name ‘Nate’. Conor McGregor hit Nate Diaz in the head multiple times for the same effect – zero.

        • Roar Guru

          May 19th 2017 @ 3:08pm
          Kaks said | May 19th 2017 @ 3:08pm | ! Report

          I must admit, I have noticed a distinct correlation between the name ‘Nate’ and the chances that ‘Nate’ has nothing between the ears.

    • Roar Guru

      May 19th 2017 @ 8:12am
      Michael Keeffe said | May 19th 2017 @ 8:12am | ! Report

      Two utility backs on the bench. Not so sure David. Tyson Frizzell was one of the blues best last year so as a Qlder I’ll be happy if they leave him out.

      • Roar Guru

        May 19th 2017 @ 2:36pm
        The Barry said | May 19th 2017 @ 2:36pm | ! Report

        Two backs on the bench is one of the more absurd selection ideas I’ve read all silly season.

        • May 19th 2017 @ 4:57pm
          Albo said | May 19th 2017 @ 4:57pm | ! Report

          I’m not so sure, Baz ! I still think Bird is a natural backrower and eventually he will give up the fantasy of hoping to be a playmaker and get back into the pack where he belongs ! He wouldn’t let NSW down playing long minutes in the pack if needed. The Roar selection panel picked Peachey along with 3 plodding props on the bench ? I prefer David’s variety idea to at least break the one dimensional format we seem to stick with each year.

    • May 19th 2017 @ 8:16am
      Sideline said | May 19th 2017 @ 8:16am | ! Report

      I wouldn’t leave out Frizell, he had a great debut last year and had a very good game for Australia. I’d have him on the bench. And wouldn’t have Jennings, his time has come and gone.

    • May 19th 2017 @ 8:29am
      E-Meter said | May 19th 2017 @ 8:29am | ! Report

      Frizell is a certainty

    • May 19th 2017 @ 8:31am
      danwain said | May 19th 2017 @ 8:31am | ! Report

      Two utilities on the bench when our strength is in the forwards, you are having a laugh

      • May 19th 2017 @ 5:03pm
        Albo said | May 19th 2017 @ 5:03pm | ! Report

        danwain, our strength has supposedly been our forwards every year for the past decade ! Always with the same results ! Never enough points scored to win anything! We always forget QLD forwards aren’t half bad either and their backs have been way superior ! I’m happy to try something different at last !

        • May 21st 2017 @ 9:13am
          Baz said | May 21st 2017 @ 9:13am | ! Report

          Hate to break it too you forwards dont sore most of your trys. You can dominate in forwards etc but if your spine cant get the job done it means you will only win sometimes.

    • Roar Rookie

      May 19th 2017 @ 8:33am
      Conan of Cooma said | May 19th 2017 @ 8:33am | ! Report

      Townsend instead of Pearce. He was waiting in support for 90% of the game last night and has an established pairing with Maloney.

      • Roar Rookie

        May 19th 2017 @ 8:56am
        William Dalton Davis said | May 19th 2017 @ 8:56am | ! Report

        He also made a multitude of poor plays close to the line. Give QLD that many 7 tackle sets from poor kicking and watch them win by 30+.

        • May 19th 2017 @ 5:08pm
          Albo said | May 19th 2017 @ 5:08pm | ! Report

          Townsend should have spent more time practising his 5th tackle options rather than waiting in support for 90% of the game ! Maybe then the Sharks might have not needed Fifita & Gallen to pull them out of the poo again !

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