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Depth perception: who would win a 'State of Origin A'?

Matt Moylan killed it on debut for the Kangaroos. (AAP Image/Dan Himbrechts)
Roar Guru
3rd June, 2018
16
3015 Reads

As we head towards one of the most eagerly anticipated State of Origin series’ in recent memory (OK, I guess we say that every year), let’s whet the appetite and have a look at the depth chart of each State.

To do so, put on your ‘imagination cap’ and envisage a catastrophic scandal rocking both camps. I’ll let you come up with the details. As a result of this epic monstrosity, all 34 players are deemed ineligible to play.

While they are left to wallow in their misery, these Stephen Bradbury-like individuals would more than likely take their place.

NB: those who are injured, suspended and/or retired from rep football are not considered.

New South Wales

1 – Clint Gutherson
‘The King’ can play, and play just about anywhere. Gets his start at fullback with James Tedesco, Tom Trbojevic and Josh Dugan all unavailable.

2 – Blake Ferguson
Some say Ferguson is unlucky, others believe he and Dugan will never play for NSW again. Either way, he’d surely get a gig here.

3 – Jarrod Croker
There are those who believe Croker should have played 20 Origins by now. While he has been a very good player for the Raiders, it may unfortunately take some sort of imaginary catastrophe for Croker to finally get a start.

Jarrod Croker running

Jarrod Croker of the Raiders (AAP Image/Dan Himbrechts)

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4 – Euan Aitken
Will play plenty of rep football. Built for this arena.

5 – Nik Cotric
See comments re: Aitken.

6 – Luke Keary
Apparently Keary was tantalisingly close to being named. Some can’t look past the fact he once wanted to play for Queensland though.

7 – Luke Brooks
A man once labelled the ‘next Joey’ is having a breakout season and wouldn’t look out of place in Origin. His time may come.

8 – Aaron Woods
A victim of the Fittler evolution, Woods has been so so for the Bulldogs in 2018 and may find it difficult to force his way back in to the NSW pack.

9 – Cameron McInnes
If Damien Cook decided not to become a complete freak for Souths this season, McInnes would be playing on Wednesday.

10 – Ryan James
Pack your bags Ryan, this time for real.

11 – Tariq Sims
Another one in the unlucky-not-to-be-there basket, Sims would thrive in sky blue.

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12 – Josh Jackson (c)
An Origin player through and through, Jackson probably only lost his spot because he doesn’t offer a great deal in attack. Has never let the side down in the past.

Josh Jackson

(AAP Image/Dean Lewins)

13 – Dale Finucane
Has his supporters who believe he should be there for real, and will likely do so in the not too distant future. Has become a great player under Bellamy.

14 – Matt Moylan
A natural footballer who has played three games for NSW already. Equally adept at playing in the halves our out the back.

15 – Wade Graham
Another versatile Shark who would have been there for real had injury not hampered his season. Will likely play some part in the 2018 series.

16 – Shannon Boyd
Big body who has played for Australia. Would do a job.

17 – Trent Merrin
Has been superb for Penrith and has played a lot of Origin in the past.

Queensland

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1 – Kalyn Ponga
As a New South Welshman, waiting for this guy to debut is like waiting for a storm to erupt. He’ll be one of the best ever by the time he retires.

2 – Darius Boyd
Can score a try in Origin, can’t he? One of the great Queenslanders.

Queensland's Darius Boyd celebrates scoring a try during 2013 State of Origin Game 2

Darius Boyd (AAP Image/Dan Peled)

3 – Justin O’Neill
Was once a fixture in this side until he had a Barry in Game 1 last year. Not having a great season but has rep pedigree.

4 – Dale Copley
Was called in camp for real as extra cover. Would love marking up against James Roberts who ended his Broncos career.

5 – Corey Oates

The next time he plays for Queensland, it could be in the second row.

6 – Anthony Milford
Not having a great year at club level, but there’s no denying Milford is a weapon. Played in Game 1 last year.

7 – Ash Taylor
He and Milford would form a very capable halves pairing. Will play plenty of games for Queensland in the future.

8 – Tim Glasby
I only found he wasn’t playing for real a few days ago. Did a very good job for the Maroons last year.

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9 – Jake Friend
Gets booed by his own fans occasionally but is a fine player who has represented his country in the past.

10 – Sam Thaiday
Would give anything to play one more game for his beloved Queensland.

11 – Aiden Guerra
Like Thaiday, Guerra was dropped after the Game 1 hammering last year. Has been very good for Newcastle this season.

12 – Chris McQueen
Out of reserve grade and into Origin? Been there before and there aren’t a lot of other options.

13 – Joe Ofaengauae
Mal Meninga wanted the Broncos ace in the side for real. Will get there sooner rather than later.

14 – Moses M’bye
Will be there at the MCG as 18th man and has been very good for a horrendous Bulldogs side this year.

15 – Keegan Hipgrave
Something tells me this gentleman will become the most hated man South of the Tweed in the next five years. Plays hard.

16 – Luke Bateman
A solid player for the Raiders over the last few years, Bateman was a fixture in junior Queensland sides.

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17 – Christian Welch
Another one currently playing reserve grade, Welch is a big body this side needs.

Verdict?
Queensland have a lot of experience but they’re a tad exposed in the forwards. They do have Kalyn Ponga and he’d probably be able to win it on his own, however I’m backing NSW in a tight one.

Thoughts, Roarers?

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