If an Australian Kangaroos team were to be selected today, it would feature at least six new faces in the starting 13, including a completely revamped spine.
Four of the back five would be New South Welshmen, with incumbent and coach favourite Josh Dugan expected to be retained, joining Greg Inglis in the centres, despite being overlooked for Origin.
GI will be the new skipper.
The winners from Origin 1 who have pencilled their names in the national selectors’ minds include:
James Tedesco, who is a straight swap for retiring champion Billy Slater, as well as Josh Addo-Carr – the fastest man in the game, who looked very comfortable on the big stage.
Meanwhile, Tom Trbojevic underlined why he was the highest rated player in SuperCoach last year, Damien Cook showed why he is the highest price in SuperCoach ($713,000) right now, and Latrell Mitchell outplayed incumbent Will Chambers.
For Queensland, Cameron Munster looked dangerous with little help from his forwards.
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Players who are under threat to lose their Kangaroo jumper include Dane Gagai, Chambers and Valentine Holmes.
Incumbent forwards David Klemmer, Boyd Cordner, Josh McGuire and Matt Gillett – the latter who missed Origin through injury – be retained.
If the selectors choose to not chase Andrew Fifita, then Reagan Campbell-Gillard – who played off the bench in the Rugby League World Cup final – will likely start up front, despite failing to bust a tackle at the MCG.
It remains to be seen if Mal Meninga retains the out of favour Aaron Woods.
The Kangaroo World Cup bench was Wade Graham, Jordan McLean (injured foot until round 16), Campbell-Gillard and Tyson Frizell – all Blues.
Newly appointed co-selector Laurie Daley will work with Meninga and Darren Lockyer for Australia’s Test match against New Zealand in October.
Daley said on his radio program that he thought Maroons Ben Hunt and Andrew McCullough should be replaced for Game 2, suggesting Cook has a mortgage on the national hooking position, and the halfback race is between Nathan Cleary and Michael Morgan, who played pivot outside Cronk in the World Cup.
Daley also added that Morgan was the best player in last season’s NRL finals series and should be the Maroons halfback. Given Morgan is a Queenslander and they will be limited with representation, Meninga and Lockyer would not argue.
One Queenslander who may have a say is superstar rookie Kalyn Ponga, who many believe is close to the game’s best player. His problem is getting into the run-on side.
Even with Slater retired from rep footy, Ponga would still sit behind both Tedesco and Tom Trbojevic to claim the prestigious Kangaroo fullback job, but he looks certain to be the long-term Maroon custodian.