Paul Vaughan must be wondering to himself what more he could have done to impress Blues coach Laurie Daley.
The Dragons forward was the shock omission from New South Wales’ 20-man team for State of Origin Game 1 next Wednesday.
In 11 games this season, Vaughan has 176 hit ups, 326 tackles, 1710 running metres and four line breaks to go along with three tries and an assist for the Dragons.
Taking note Laurie?
He is the in-form prop in the NRL, and despite putting in great performances week-in-week-out, it wasn’t enough to convince New South Wales selectors he deserved a spot in the team.
I’m a Dragons fan, and if you hadn’t noticed, I’m disappointed Vaughan hasn’t made the cut.
The starting props for Origin 1 are Aaron Woods and Andrew Fifita, with David Klemmer coming off the interchange.
I like Klemmer. He provides the kind of grit and tenacity you need in rep footy. Admittedly he hasn’t been at his best this year, but has proven the past couple of years he has what it takes to get under the Maroons’ skin.
Fifita has had a solid year, and had a great game for the Kangaroos against the Kiwis. He is coming off a Premiership year, and Daley is known to be an admirer of the Sharks big man.
It’s Woods who I have the problem with.
Having missed time with a hamstring injury this season, it remains unclear whether he will be 100 per cent for Game 1.
Yes, he returned in the Tigers’ drubbing at the hands of the Broncos, but the Bulldogs-bound forward still didn’t look ready for Origin.
Barely getting through 80 minutes of NRL action and being ready for the battle of a three-game Origin Series are two completely different things.
This is where Vaughan would, and should have come into the frame.
In a year where the Dragons were expected to struggle (and were tipped for the wooden spoon by many), they have played consistent footy despite injuries to key players Josh Dugan and Gareth Widdop.
Vaughan has been instrumental in this.
Having been a bit-part player last season with the Canberra Raiders, where he split time between the starters and interchange bench, Vaughan has had a breakthrough season with the Dragons and can stake his claim for signing of the season.
Along with Jack De Belin, who was fortunate enough to be named New South Wales’ 20th man, Vaughan has been a standout for the Dragons as he looks to guide his team back to the finals after missing out last year.
The pair have both already had a taste of rep footy this year, representing Country in the annual City versus County Origin in what could be the start of a a dynamic duo for the Dragons, and potentially New South Wales.
Do you think Paul Vaughan was hard done by to miss out on Origin selection?
Let me know your thoughts.