The Roar
The Roar


A hypothetical City vs Country contest highlights Blues' impressive depth

The Blues have impressive depth. (Photo by Matt King/Getty Images)
Roar Guru
17th August, 2018

Last year, the annual City versus Country bonanza finally had its life support turned off. For many rugby league traditionalists, it was a side time. For others, it was years overdue.

Somewhere the late 2000s, the game lost its tag as a genuine State of Origin trial. As a result, many NRL clubs became reluctant to release star players for the fixture. This, coupled with the fact it often coincided with the mid year Anzac Test (ruling out even more high profile players), meant that it became a more of a token rep jumper for younger players looking to make a name for themselves.

But what if it returned at the end of this season with all eligible players available? It’s a fantasy that’s as far fetched as it is mouth watering (for some, at least), and it exposes what is an impressive depth chart for NSW in State of Origin. Let’s run through each likely line-up.

1. Josh Dugan
2. Nik Cotric
3. Latrell Mitchell
4. Jesse Ramien
5. Blake Ferguson
6. Cody Walker
7. James Maloney
8. Jack De Belin
9. Damien Cook
10. Paul Vaughan
11. Boyd Cordner (c)
12. Tyson Frizell
13. Josh Jackson

14. Jack Bird
15. Tevita Pangai Jr
16. Angus Crichton
17. Tariq Sims

18th man – Dale Finucane

Steeden Rugby League Generic

Should we bring back Country versus City? (Photo by Matthew Lewis/Getty Images)

1. James Tedesco
2. Tom Trbojevic
3. James Roberts
4. Dylan Walker
5. Josh Addo-Carr
6. Luke Keary
7. Nathan Cleary
8. Reagan Campbell-Gillard
9. Cameron McInnes
10. David Klemmer
11. Wade Graham
12. Ryan Matterson
13. Jake Trbojevic

14. Tyrone Peachey
15. Nathan Brown
16. Junior Paulo
17. Victor Radley


18th man – Clinton Gutherson

Verdict? Take your pick. Both sides are absolutely stacked in the backline, and there are enough international standard back rowers on hand to fill a movie theatre.

The spines are on par, but Damien Cook would give the Country side a huge advantage through the middle. The injection of TPJ and Crichton off the interchange would also have the opposition fretting, but Victor Radley could cause enough destruction on his lonesome to cancel out that threat.

The battle between Jesse Ramien and James Roberts would be particularly mouth watering, as these two will no doubt square off early next year in the race to partner Latrell Mitchell in sky blue.

Back to reality, and while this contest will never even get close to the strategy room, it does highlight the new Blue order that could make State of Origin very interesting over the next few years.

And while Queensland have also uncovered some gems over the last couple of seasons, it’d be a stretch to believe their depth chart is as impressive as the one above.

Before I finish, may I suggest that now the mid-year Test match is gone, this City versus Country spectacular takes its place?

Fine, I’ll wake up now.