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What if we had State of Origin in football?

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Roar Guru
16th June, 2019

As it’s currently the NRL State of Origin period, I thought it would be a good time to look at what would happen if the same concept happened in football with Australian players.

Today I look at what would happen in a football State of Origin. All players currently listed as Australian by Futwiz are eligible to participate in the tournament.

New South Wales

GK: Matthew Ryan
LB: James Meredith
CB: Milos Degenek
CB: Alex Wilkinson
RB: Rhyan Grant
CM: Aaron Mooy
CDM: Mark Milligan
CM: Massimo Luongo
LW: Chris Ikonomidis
ST: Tomi Juric
RW: Martin Boyle
Bench: Danny Vukovic, Mile Jedinak, Dimitri Petratos, Daniel Arzani, Mitchell Duke

If you want to stop reading now because this New South Wales team is too good, I don’t blame you. Every player in this team has played for the Socceroos, and it isn’t surprising considering that over half of Australia’s football players are from the state.

The team starts off with Australia and EPL club Brighton’s first-choice goalkeeper, Matthew Ryan. At the fullbacks Millwall regular James Meredith takes the left spot, while A-League championship winner and Asian Cup Socceroo Rhyan Grant takes the right.

The two centrebacks for NSW include experienced Sydney FC defender Alex Wilkinson and former Red Star Belgrade player Milos Degenek.

Taking a look at the midfield, in-demand Huddersfield Town midfielder Aaron Mooy lines up alongside Socceroos Asian Cup captain Mark Milligan and beside Queens Park Rangers regular Massimo Luongo.

Then the attack includes Chris Ikonomidis, who had his breakthrough year with Perth Glory; 41-time Socceroos Tomi Juric as striker; and Scottish-born Martin Boyle at the right wing.


On the bench Belgian championship winner Danny Vukovic is the reserve goalkeeper, joining former Socceroos captain Mile Jedinak, Newcastle Jets midfielder Dimitri Petratos, injured wunderkind Daniel Arzani and recent Socceroos striker Mitchell Duke.

Daniel Arzani

Daniel Arzani (Robert Cianflone/Getty Images)


GK: Mitchell Langerak
LB: Izaack Powell
CB: James Donachie
CB: Daniel Bowles
RB: Michael Zullo
CM: Neil Kilkenny
CDM: Luke Brattan
CM: Josh Brillante
LW: Tommy Oar
ST: David Williams
RW: Robbie Kruse
Bench: Matt Acton, Ben Halloran, Dario Vidosic, Kenneth Dougall, Kwame Yeboah

This Queensland team is a mix of in-form A-League players and former Socceroos.

In goals is former Borussia Dortmund shot-stopper Mitchell Langerak. He’s playing behind Melbourne Victory regular James Donachie, who plays alongside Daniel Bowles, who is one of the weaker players in this team. The 17-year-old wunderkind Izaack Powell fills the left side while Sydney FC’s starting left-back takes the right side.

In the midfield is arguably one of the A-League’s best midfielders, Neil Kilkenny, playing with A-League winner Josh Brillante and Melbourne City regular Luke Brattan at central defensive midifield.

Up top is the 11-goal, 27-game David Williams plays at striker with out-of-form former Socceroo Tommy Oar and Robbie Kruse, perhaps another out-of-form former Socceroo.


On the bench we have Melbourne Victory backup keeper Matt Acton, Adelaide attacker Ben Halloran, former Melbourne City striker Dario Vidosic, EFL Championship midfielder Kenneth Dougall and Wanderers striker Kwame Yeboah.

I’d expect some up-and-down results from Queensland. I think they’ll finish fourth thanks to too many draws.

Borussia Dortmund goalkeeper Mitchell Langerak

Mitch Langerak (AP Photo/Michael Sohn)

South Australia

GK: Paul Izzo
LB: Ben Garuccio
CB: Jordan Elsey
CB: Ryan McGowan
RB: Michael Marrone
CAM: James Troisi
CM: Riley McGree
CM: Stefan Mauk
LW: Awer Mabil
ST: Craig Goodwin
RW: Brandon Borello
Bench: Daniel Margush, Nikola Mileusnic, Dylan McGowan, Brad Inman, Bruce Kamau

South Australia’s defence starts with Adelaide shot-stopper Paul Izzo with Hearts defender Ben Garuccio at left-back. The two centrebacks are Adelaide United’s Jordan Elsey and recent Dundee loanee Ryan McGowan. Adelaide’s starting right-back, Michael Marrone, is there as well.

In the midfield is 37-time Socceroo James Troisi, the scorpion king Riley McGree and out-of-form Brisbane player Stefan Mauk.

Up front is Socceroos Asian Cup star Awer Mabil taking the left side with Bundesliga player Brandon Borello. Adelaide United winger Craig Goodwin will have to fill the striker spot for South Australia.


On the bench is Adelaide reserve goalkeeper Daniel Margush, Adelaide United winger Nikola Mileusnic, Danish league defender Dylan McGowan, free agent and former Rochdale wide midfielder Brad Inman and Western Sydney Wanderers winger Bruce Kamau.

Of the 16 players in this team, six play for Adelaide United. It’s nice to see them recruiting local talent, but there’s bot much depth in this team. I expect it to finish fifth.


GK: James Delianov
LB: Aziz Behich
CB: Thomas Deng
CB: Bailey Wright
RB: Ivan Franjic
CM: Jackson Irvine
CM: James Jeggo
CM: Ajdin Hrustic
LW: Connor Pain
ST: Jamie Maclaren
RW: Matthew Leckie
Bench: Matthew Sutton, Andrew Nabbout, Jason Davidson, Andy Rose, Denis Genreau

Victoria doesn’t start off well, with Western United’s James Delianov in the goals, a keeper who’s played only one professional game. In defence is Socceroos and PSV Eindhoven left-back Aziz Behich. The two centrebacks are Melbourne Victory’s Thomas Deng and Bristol City captain Bailey Wright. Perth Glory right-back Ivan Franjic is in there too.

In the centre is Hull City midfielder Jackson Irvine, recent Socceroo James Jeggo and Eredivisie player Ajdin Hrustic.

Up front Western United winger Connor Pain plays on the left, Melbourne City and Socceroos striker Jamie Maclaren plays as the target man and 61-time Socceroos winger Matt Leckie.

On the bench is Melbourne Victory youth player Matthew Sutton, Australia World Cup striker Andrew Nabbout, Perth Glory standout left-back Jason Davidson, Vancouver midfielder Andy Rose and Eredivisie attacker Denis Genreau.


This team is very all-rounded and would be expected to come second.

Jackson Irvine in action against Honduras in a Socceroos World Cup qualifier

Jackson Irvine (AP Photo/Moises Castillo)

Western Australia

GK: Brad Jones
LB: Scott Galloway
CB: Trent Sainsbury
CB: Rhys Williams
RB: Josh Risdon
CM: Brandon O’Neill
CAM: Daniel De Silva
CM: Rostyn Griffiths
LW: Ryan Williams
ST: Adam Taggart
RW: Chris Harold
Bench: Jack Duncan, Shane Lowry, Brandon Wilson, Jacob Italiano, Yagoub Mustafa

Western Australia’s defence is a strong one starting with former Liverpool goalkeeper Brad Jones. In-form left-back Scott Galloway starts on the left side with 14-time Socceroo Josh Risdon playing on the right. Australia starting centreback Trent Sainsbury plays with 14-time Socceroo Rhys Williams.


In the centre of the pitch is A-League championship winner with Sydney FC Brandon O’Neill, who plays with Sydney teammate Daniel De Silva at central attacking midfielder. Then comes Melbourne City midfielder and former Perth Glory captain Rostyn Griffiths in the other midfield spot.

In attack is free agent and former Rotherham regular Ryan Williams, while out-of-form winger Chris Harold takes up the left. In-form K-League striker Adam Taggart takes up his natural position.

The bench-sitters for Western Australia are Saudi League regular goalkeeper Jack Duncan, Perth defender Shane Lowry, Perth midfielder Brandon Wilson, recent Borussia Monchengladbach signing Jacob Italiano and Perth youth player Yagoub Mustafa.

I’d expect them to come third. The goals will be hard to come by, but that defence may be the best in the competition. Interestingly, none of the starting 11 play for Perth Glory.

So who do you think will win this tournament? My tip is on New South Wales to win very comfortably.