A few days ago, we asked you for your preferred NSW Blues team for Origin 1, and Brad Fittler could do far worse than picking the side chosen by the fans.
Some positions held few surprises. James Tedesco and Damien Cook were nigh-on unanimous selections at fullback and hooker respectively, and Jake Trbojevic was the clear choice at lock.
Incumbents David Klemmer and Paul Vaughan were the preferred combination in the front row, a pattern replicated in the second row, where Boyd Cordner and Tyson Frizell comfortably beat out the rest of the options after playing key roles in the Blues’ series victory last year. That leaves the starting forward pack identical to the one which ran out for NSW in Game 3 last year.
There were far fewer incumbents in the rest of the side. While over 90 per cent of fans want to see Josh Addo-Carr retain his place, his opposite winger from last year, Tom Trbojevic, is unavailable for Game 1 with a hamstring injury.
In the Manly star’s absence, Blake Ferguson appears the leading contender to partner Addo-Carr out wide. Ferguson picked up 63 per cent of the vote, comfortably ahead of Nick Cotric’s 31 per cent.
There’s a similar story in the centres, where Latrell Mitchell (96%) will keep his spot but be joined by a new face alongside him. In what was the closest-fought vote in the entire team, Jesse Ramien (23%) pipped Jarrod Croker by a single vote, while Josh Morris was only a further three behind.
With Nathan Cleary and James Maloney horribly out of form, it’s clear Roarers want to see a change in the halves this year. Luke Keary picked up 62 per cent of the vote to lock away the five-eighth spot in this team, well ahead of Cody Walker’s 27 per cent, while it’s South Sydney halfback Adam Reynolds getting the nod at number seven. The Rabbitohs playmaker was picked in 41 per cent of teams, putting him in front of Cleary (23%), Keary (19%) and Mitchell Pearce (12%).
The bench was, for the most part, a clear-cut affair. Angus Crichton (52%) was tipped to keep his spot in the side from last year, joined by new faces Payne Haas (59%) and Cameron Murray (48%).
The last reserve spot was far tighter. In the end, Cody Walker’s 31 per cent of the vote was good enough to see off Tariq Sims by one vote, fans only just preferring to have a utility on the pine rather than four forwards. Victor Radley was the next most popular option with 23 per cent, while seven different players finished with between 10 and 16 per cent.
That leaves us with a team looking like this.
The Roar’s NSW Blues team for Origin 1
1. James Tedesco
2. Blake Ferguson
3. Latrell Mitchell
4. Jesse Ramien
5. Josh Addo-Carr
6. Luke Keary
7. Adam Reynolds
8. David Klemmer
9. Damien Cook
10. Paul Vaughan
11. Boyd Cordner
12. Tyson Frizell
13. Jake Trbojevic
14. Payne Haas
15. Angus Crichton
16. Cameron Murray
17. Cody Walker
What do you think, Roarers? Is this the side Fittler should choose for Origin 1?