Queensland save face, but it will be the ‘Kanga-Blues’

Matt H Roar Guru

By Matt H, Matt H is a Roar Guru

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    Queensland put in a might performance in an Origin classic on Wednesday, but it won’t stop the next Australian team being dominated by the new generation Blues.

    At times in recent years the Australian side has resembled a Queensland squad, particularly in the backs, but the retirements of many Maroons has left the door ajar, and the young New South Wales team have smashed it open with some stellar performances.

    In addition, two of the three Queensland club sides have been performing poorly this year and the third, Brisbane, have been helped along by a selection of southerners and overseas players.

    So, if the Kangaroos were being picked today, what would they look like?

    Fullback: James Tedesco
    But for Billy Slater, we would already be talking about an established Australian star. James Tedesco is a tackle-breaking machine and poses huge threats to tiring forwards through the middle of the field. I look forward to many years of Tedesco versus Kalyn Ponga debates, like Anthony Minichiello versus Darren Lockyer in the 2000s.

    Wingers: Tom Trbojevic and Valentine Holmes
    Valentine Holmes is a try-scoring freak and his slips catch on Wednesday night was possibly the highlight of the whole game. His instinctive play, speed and skills are second to none.

    Tommy Turbo has grown into the wing position as the series has gone on and was one of NSW’s best in Game 3 – since Greg Inglis stopped stalking him.

    Centres: Greg Inglis and James Roberts
    This is probably a controversial selection – even I think I’m crazy not picking Latrell Mitchell – but Inglis and Mitchell both play left centre and Inglis is still more than worth his place. Latrell has been rocks and diamonds, with Queensland’s tries coming down his side.

    Roberts was great in defence again on Wednesday and held his own against Inglis. He has had no room to move, but I suspect he will in the international arena.

    Five-eighth: Cameron Munster
    Munster showed on Wednesday what he is capable of when he is allowed to play his natural game. A pure footballer, his running game in traffic is superb and he will cause havoc with Tedesco coming back off his inside shoulder.

    Halfback: James Maloney
    James Maloney was the go-to guy for the Blues’ two wins and deserves his place. Jimmy has the kicking game, the goal-kicking, the organisational play, the niggle and is a winner.

    Props: David Klemmer and Reagan Campbell-Gillard
    The obvious choices. Klemmer has taken Matt Scott’s mantle as the premier big man in the game. Queensland probably shaded NSW in the forwards over the three games, but individually, I can’t see any Queensland prop being better than these two.

    Hooker: Damien Cook
    Cook has been a revelation this series. His speed off the mark and selection of the right time to ‘go’ have been wonderful and he can still last the 80 minutes and take on all the hard stuff as well. My man of the series.

    Second row: Boyd Cordner (captain) and Tyson Frizell
    Boyd Cordner played a true captain’s knock through this series. With major doubts over his form going in, Cordner was probably the best forward across the three matches. As captain of the winning team, he gets to take over from Cameron Smith as the leader of his country.

    The other second-row spot was more difficult, but Queensland’s pair of Gavin Cooper and Felise Kaufusi did not do enough to impress, so the spot goes to Frizell.

    Matt Gillett is still the better second rower, once he gets back to full fitness. I’m wondering also whether next year this spot gets taken by Angus Crichton.

    Tyson Frizell

    Tyson Frizell (Photo by Robert Prezioso/Getty Images)

    Lock: Jake Trbojevic
    What. A. Player. There’s nothing more to say, really. He looks class every time he represents NSW and Australia, and he can have this spot for as long as he likes.

    Bench
    Jai Arrow – this kid looks all class. Possibly Queensland’s best forward as the series went on.

    Josh McGuire – experience and mongrel.

    Paul Vaughan – a big body to throw at tired opposition.

    Tyrone Peachey – this is a tough one and you could go with Dane Gagai, Kalyn Ponga, Ben Hunt, even Latrell Mitchell for that impact player. Cook playing 80 probably takes Hunt out of the equation, but he was very good on Wednesday. Maybe Ponga?

    So, there you have it: NSW have 12 to Queensland’s five, including 10-3 in the starting line-up.

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    The Crowd Says (91)

    • July 13th 2018 @ 3:18am
      Graham said | July 13th 2018 @ 3:18am | ! Report

      Lots of overrated NSW powderpuffs who struggled against underrated QLD forwards in that lineup. QLD deserve a couple of extra forwards

      On the other hand I think Australia’s best spine has 3 players that didn’t play in the origin spine – ponga, cody walker, ash taylor and cook

      • July 13th 2018 @ 7:11am
        Max Danger said | July 13th 2018 @ 7:11am | ! Report

        your bias makes you an embarrassment

      • July 13th 2018 @ 7:16am
        peeko said | July 13th 2018 @ 7:16am | ! Report

        tell me what Qld forwards deserve a run? Gavin Cooper? Mccullough? Wallace?

      • Roar Guru

        July 13th 2018 @ 7:46am
        Matt H said | July 13th 2018 @ 7:46am | ! Report

        Thanks graham, while I agree that QLD matched NSW in the forwards, individually I struggled to find a spot for any of them. It did not help that QLD’s two best over the series were Arrow and McGuire. Their best position is lock, but Jake Turbo is currently in my mind the classiest forward in the country. You could argue Papali on the bench over Vaughn for sure.

        • July 13th 2018 @ 8:42am
          Graham said | July 13th 2018 @ 8:42am | ! Report

          They did more than match them and 5 out of 5 of your starting forwards are blues! The whole side is more blue than it was maroon during their decade and a half of dominance

          • Roar Guru

            July 13th 2018 @ 9:00am
            Matt H said | July 13th 2018 @ 9:00am | ! Report

            Suggestions for changes are most welcome Graham.

            • July 13th 2018 @ 9:15am
              Graham said | July 13th 2018 @ 9:15am | ! Report

              My first drops would be Vaughan who tackled at a poor 85%, peachey who had limited impact and can’t start (Ponga is a good replacement).

              For QLD forwards Papali and cooper would be my choice

              Cooper made 40 tackles a game at 90%, has incredible agression in defence made an assist and a line break. Papali tackled at 96% and has to be there. Was dominant all series.

              To make room for them the weakest players for NSW that you have were Cordner and Klemmer with both tackling less and less efficiently than papali and cooper. Cordner got a try and an assist plus he’s been there before so I’d drop Klemmer

              It won’t happen but I’d like to see walker (NSW) and taylor (QLD) as the halves. Walker has been in electric form every time he plays! It would be justified to look to the NRL rather than origin for halves though because all 4 halves struggled and DCE had only 1 match and hasn’t been great in the NRL

              So my side would be 9 blues 8 qld which is pretty fair for a maiden 2-1 series victory (many times NSW had that many blues)

              • Roar Guru

                July 13th 2018 @ 9:36am
                Matt H said | July 13th 2018 @ 9:36am | ! Report

                So you would drop our two biggest forwards, with Klemmer giving us the most post-contact metres and replace them with Cooper and Papali? You are replacing a middle forward with an edge forward and losing a lot of size. I respect your emphasis on tackle efficiency, but part of that might be where they defend on the field and you also need to consider the balance of your side. NSW learnt the hard way over a number of years that a team full of second rowers isn’t always the best solution.

                Your halves are untried at this level and Taylor still has a way to go under pressure. His game against the Broncos recently showed he still has some learning to do. Maloney or even DCE have both guided teams to premierships and Maloney has guided NSW to a series win. I also don’t see Walker having any spectacular advantage over Munster.

              • Roar Guru

                July 13th 2018 @ 9:44am
                The Barry said | July 13th 2018 @ 9:44am | ! Report

                Klemmer is in the top couple of ball carrying forwards in the comp and you’re dropping him because of tackle efficiency?

                You can’t pick an entire team on tackle efficiency.

                Plus a TE of 90% for Cooper isn’t that great. He was really good in game 3 but he’s not in the best half dozen backrowers in the NRL. Maybe more.

              • July 13th 2018 @ 9:50am
                Graham said | July 13th 2018 @ 9:50am | ! Report

                If meninga wants them to play like queensland and dominate the territory battle you need players who can play with a fast line speed, make a ton of tackles and not miss any. Cooper and Papali are key to that. Vaughans 85% tackle efficiency is very poor for rep level. No way he is good enough. Queenslands forwards also dominated with a team full of backrowers so I don’t think thats a problem

                on the halves its tough. Do you select halves that struggle at origin level given they were tried and didn’t do well or try someone else. My guess is they will stick with the halves you suggest but I don’t think it’d be the right choice. Walker’s tries+assists+lbs+lb assists per game are the best in the league if I’m not mistaken with taylor at number 2. Anyway a walker-taylor pairing aint going to happen this year

              • July 13th 2018 @ 9:56am
                Graham said | July 13th 2018 @ 9:56am | ! Report

                @Barry
                Not just efficiency (where cooper is par) but also 40 tackles a game as well as contributing in attack. Meninga no doubt will want agressive in your face line speed in defence with lots of gang tackling.

                Its very different getting post contact meters in the NRL where you are often facing weaker, more disorganized defence. As the last 30 years of origin has shown it doesn’t always translate to winning a forward battle at rep level

      • July 14th 2018 @ 4:41pm
        T said | July 14th 2018 @ 4:41pm | ! Report

        I was agreeing with everything u said till you mentioned Taylor and Walker.

        Then I just started laughing

    • Roar Guru

      July 13th 2018 @ 6:32am
      eagleJack said | July 13th 2018 @ 6:32am | ! Report

      That photo of Tyson Frizell. Super human!

      Agree with most of your side. But I can’t have James Roberts there. I wouldn’t have him in the Blues either. I think Will Chambers will get the nod for Australia. And next year for the Blues it should be a tussle between Euan Aitken and Dylan Walker for that centre spot.

      No Smith, Thurston, Cronk and Slater make the Kangaroos very beatable. Something QLD just discovered.

      • July 13th 2018 @ 7:11am
        peeko said | July 13th 2018 @ 7:11am | ! Report

        agree Roberts did nothing all series

      • July 13th 2018 @ 7:48am
        Jed Clampit said | July 13th 2018 @ 7:48am | ! Report

        Roberts will be selected , on the back of doing nothing .

      • Roar Guru

        July 13th 2018 @ 7:50am
        Matt H said | July 13th 2018 @ 7:50am | ! Report

        I admit I struggled over Roberts. But Chambers stunk the joint up for the first two games, while Mitchell gives up as many tries as he creates. Roberts was at least solid. He was well held by Inglis but there is no shame in that. And he was the best defensively of the three in contention. By the end of the finals Aitken might have staked a claim.

        • July 13th 2018 @ 7:59am
          CTSTORM said | July 13th 2018 @ 7:59am | ! Report

          Is this the same Aitken tthat leaked 52 points couple of weeks ago. I would not have him anywhere in my side. Englis, Mitchell, Chambers, Scott all ahead of him.

          • Roar Guru

            July 13th 2018 @ 8:10am
            Matt H said | July 13th 2018 @ 8:10am | ! Report

            That list shows that we are light on for quality centres at the moment. A fit Morgan?

            • July 13th 2018 @ 8:47pm
              Tom said | July 13th 2018 @ 8:47pm | ! Report

              Gagai on a wing and Tom T to center?

      • Roar Guru

        July 13th 2018 @ 8:34am
        The Barry said | July 13th 2018 @ 8:34am | ! Report

        Looks like Clark, plays like Lois…

        • Roar Guru

          July 13th 2018 @ 9:01am
          Matt H said | July 13th 2018 @ 9:01am | ! Report

          Hang on, I’m pretty sure it wasn’t a picture of Dane Carlaw.

    • July 13th 2018 @ 7:57am
      Paul said | July 13th 2018 @ 7:57am | ! Report

      You use very good arguments for all of your selections bar one Matt. It kills me to say it,but I’d have DCE in place of Peachey on the bench. He has a lot more versatility to his game than does the Peach and can probably cover a few more key positions better as well, eg hooker, half, five eight.

      Other than that, you’ve chosen a team based on SOO form, even though I reckon Aiken is a way better choice than Roberts in the centres!

      • Roar Guru

        July 13th 2018 @ 7:59am
        Matt H said | July 13th 2018 @ 7:59am | ! Report

        Didn’t even think of DCE to be honest. He never struck me as comfortable on the bench. Obviously when fit, Morgan is the obvious selection.

    • July 13th 2018 @ 8:24am
      PJD said | July 13th 2018 @ 8:24am | ! Report

      Gagai is incumbent and didnt do anything to lose his spot. Chambers whilst ordinary for couple of games is still more consistently better than roberts. Cook deserves the hooker spot, I still dont think the NSW forwards just walk into the Aust team they weren’t that dominant, Cordner for sure and jurbo. Peachey not deserving has to be better options even if they didn’t playSOO. DCE for utility spot done it before

      • Roar Guru

        July 13th 2018 @ 9:11am
        Matt H said | July 13th 2018 @ 9:11am | ! Report

        It’s tough on Gagai. I could be convinced to play Tommy T in the centres, but could he handle it?

        Which individual QLD forwards displace the NSW pack? Papali? McGuire?

        • July 13th 2018 @ 9:56am
          PJD said | July 13th 2018 @ 9:56am | ! Report

          I agree on Papalli to displace Frizelle Mcguire onto bench and as RCG played for Aust in WC Final probably done enough to keep spot. Despite a not so good couple of games, Chambers keeps his spot. Turbo, Mitchell are next in line after inglis etc so if continue to perform will no doubt be mainstays of Aust backline for years to come. Liked the article, will always be plenty of different Aust teams that could be picked that would be successful.

          • Roar Guru

            July 13th 2018 @ 12:10pm
            Matt H said | July 13th 2018 @ 12:10pm | ! Report

            Thanks PJD.

    • Roar Rookie

      July 13th 2018 @ 8:27am
      josh said | July 13th 2018 @ 8:27am | ! Report

      What is it about Latrell Mitchell? I don’t think this Origin warranted the hype. his two tries where johnny on the spot.

      Bar Tedesco, and Trbojevic I don’t think the NSW centers & wingers played any better than Queensland. And those two would be only ones I’d pick. Sub Roberts for anyone else e.g. Gagai.

      • Roar Guru

        July 13th 2018 @ 9:10am
        Matt H said | July 13th 2018 @ 9:10am | ! Report

        I agree on Mitchell he is as green as a Tasmanian senator at the moment.

    • Roar Guru

      July 13th 2018 @ 8:33am
      The Barry said | July 13th 2018 @ 8:33am | ! Report

      Gagai doesn’t deserve to be dropped.

      Roberts was ordinary all series, I’m not sure he’s nailed down a NSW jersey.

      I’d probably stick with Chambers. He was poor in game one, better in game 2 and good in 3. With so many new faces they’ll need some experience.

      Or shift Inglis. He’s one of the most talented players of all time, I reckon he’s more than capable of playing the other side of the field.

      Not sure about Vaughan. I don’t thi k he had a great series. I sorta like Papalii.

      Frizell deserves his spot but you need s second rower on the bench so after Friz makes his one decent run of the game you can sub someone on who will have a go…

      • Roar Guru

        July 13th 2018 @ 9:09am
        Matt H said | July 13th 2018 @ 9:09am | ! Report

        I can’t have Gagai as a centre and I think Tommy T did enough to take the spot, but it’s a tough one.

        The centres wild card is Josh Dugan. Mal loves him, he is the incumbent and if Cronulla go deep into the finals it might help him. I can’t reward Chambers for his terrible first two games.

        I just think Roberts, while well held in attack, was the best defensive centre in the series. I can’t believe it, even writing it now. And in the international game, I could see him running amok with extra space.

        I’m starting to come around to Papali instead of Vaughn, although I was trying to go for some real intimidating size from the bench, and I don’t have that with Arrow and McGuire.

        But did you see the Frizell photo? His one run will be sweeeeeet!

      • July 13th 2018 @ 9:28am
        jimmmy said | July 13th 2018 @ 9:28am | ! Report

        Ingliss is the only class centre plying the game atm. Mitchell has enormous potential and if he can learn how to position his winger better he may become the second one. Roberts plays like a winger . His defense was really good in Origin but he has no idea of centre play. Chambers is serviceable but I would go Inglis and Mitchell because he has X factor and potential.
        GI has the left hand carry but he also has that fend across his body so he can play on the right imo.

        • Roar Guru

          July 13th 2018 @ 10:57am
          Matt H said | July 13th 2018 @ 10:57am | ! Report

          I don’t want to possibly weaken Inglis by playing him on the right. And I think Mitchell has flaws even on his preferred left, so I can’t see him being anything other than a defensive liability on the right.

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