Anyone can contribute to The Roar and have their work featured alongside some of Australia’s most prominent sports journalists.
Given that Boyd Cordner and Cameron Smith were recently promoting this year’s State Of Origin series, it seems a good time to talk teams.
Who are the form players after the first five weeks of the competition? Who would be picked if the teams were decided on real form at this present moment?
I have some surprises and have ignored reputations.
Fullback – Tom Trbojevic (Manly)
Almost went with Corey Thompson who has been a surprise packet for the Tigers with speed and positional play. James Tedesco has had an average start to the year with dropped balls and minimal involvement.
Wingers – Blake Ferguson (Roosters) and Josh Addo-Carr (Storm)
Ferguson has run the most metres in the competition and approaches the defence like he’s going to break through everytime.
Addo-Carr is electric and his speed off the mark is unmatched. I’;m forgiving his brain snap against Tigers. Young Nick Cotric from the Raiders will be in the team next year.
Centres – Euan Aitkin (Dragons) and Jimmy ‘The Jet’ Roberts (Broncos)
Both are dangerous attacking players with fire in their bellies. Latrell Mitchell just misses out because of his error rate and Brian Kelly from Manly is also on the shortlist.
Five-eighth – Blake Green (Warriors)
He won’t be over-awed by the Origin atmosphere and he’s calmly running the Warriors. Outstanding performances every week and really stood up when Johnson was injured last week.
Halfback – James Maloney (Panthers)
Maloney is a winner and he’s potentially the first player picked. Not to mention his kicking game. If Nathan Cleary was available, he’d be the half and then Green would probably miss out.
Lock – Jack De Belin (Dragons)
He’s been on the cusp for a few years and is ready for his turn. Brings aggression and power to the team. Hasn’t lost anything since shaving off the menacing beard.
Second-rowers – Tyson Frizell (Dragons) and Jake Trbojevic (Manly)
Both of these guys won’t let you down. I’d move Trbojevic to prop in the 20th minute. A key omission is Boyd Cordner who hasn’t started well and may be carrying an injury.
Props – Paul Vaughan (Dragons) and Reagan Campbell-Gillard (Panthers)
Their form is outstanding, highlighted by bullocking runs, stiff defence and handy off-loads. They’ll match the Maroons in the hectic opening stages. Russell Packer is a Kiwi, otherwise he’d be there.
Hooker – Api Koroisau (Manly)
Speedy and crafty hooker who offers great service to his ball-runners plus energy in attack and defence.
Luke Lewis (Sharks)
Tyrone Peachey (Panthers)
Dale Finnucane (Storm)
Isaah Yeo (Panthers)
Fullback – Billy Slater (Storm)
Still a champion with speed and smarts.
Wingers – Corey Oates (Broncos) and Dane Gagai (Rabbits)
Oats is a hard man for anyone to tackle while Gagai is elusive and knows how to find the try line. Both have done well with limited opportunities on offer from their struggling sides.
Centres – Will Chambers (Storm) and Cameron Munster (Storm)
Both are dangerous attacking players who can cause the Blues plenty of problems.
Five-eighth – Ben Hunt (Dragons)
Creative player who beats Michael Morgan to the spot as the North Queensland Cowboy hasn’t fired since returning from injury.
Halfback – Daly Cherry-Evans (Manly)
Cherry-Evans gets his chance on the back of his dominant displays for Manly.
Lock – Matt Gillett (Broncos)
Superb player who shines every week in all aspects of the game. Great defender too.
Second-rowers – Coen Hess (Cowboys) and Alex Glenn (Broncos)
Great defenders and line runners. Hess has white line fever, often managing to score a try through his brute strength.
Props – Matt Scott (Cowboys) and Josh McGuire (Broncos)
Queensland don’t have great depth in the props so I had to settle for these guys, who haven’t had the best 2018, but they’ll do the job.
Hooker – Cameron Smith (Storm)
He’s the captain of the team and still knows how to dominate a game.
Jai Arrow (Titans)
Dylan Napa (Roosters)
Gavin Cooper (Cowboys)
Anthony Milford (Broncos)