The 2020 season has been a very poor year in terms of performance and results for the Queensland NRL teams.
It is hugely disappointing for all of us loyal supporters as well. Will this translate directly to poor performance during the upcoming State of Origin series?
Based on what the Queensland-based teams have produced so far, everything says Queensland will lose the 2020 series and several more if a new crop of young quality players doesn’t emerge in the very near future.
Queensland has a history of picking and sticking however the current team badly needs some new talent injected into the mix. Obviously the selectors need to mix experience with youth. They don’t want to go down the selection path of the Brisbane Broncos and pick all young players and then have no experience.
The magic bullet once again would be Cameron Smith but everything points to the fact that Smith has made a personal decision and will not play Origin. Cameron, please do an Allan Langer, it isn’t too late!
If he had played the last two series, then Queensland could well have won both series and the Queensland march would have continued. Without Smith, Queensland have looked far more vulnerable and the loss of many other great players have all added to the decline of most probably the best rugby league side ever during the recent but fading-fast golden era.
Both the Brisbane Broncos and the Gold Coast Titans would be desperate to add Cameron Smith to their rosters for next season. Mal Meninga is at the Gold Coast while Kevvy Walters could well end up at the Broncos so it is anyone’s guess where Smith will go if he plays on for one more year.
However, if his better half plans to live on the Gold Coast, then let’s face it, the likelihood of ending up at the Titans for a year is a very real possibility. The Gold Coast probably have better prospects for next year as well going by their improving roster.
All three Queensland sides haven’t produced much at all in 2020 with no shining lights to be seen anywhere.
The forwards and outside backs available to Queensland look especially thin on the ground and therefore bold selections will need to be made for any chance of a series win. Queensland have been lacking forwards making the hard yards over the last couple of series and have looked particularly slow around the ruck in defence.
New faster legs are required to counteract players like James Tedesco and Damien Cook. My suggested team is given below with some younger and more mobile forwards added to the line-up.
Queensland cannot continue to stick and pick with players that haven’t really delivered over the last couple of years.
Young Patrick Carrigan for the Broncos has been making plenty of metres and Corey Horsburgh from Canberra has also been excellent and must be picked based on his recent good form.
Does anyone agree with this side? Please put forward your own side for the Queensland selectors to ponder and let’s hope for a competitive Origin series and a Queensland win.
Sometimes I wonder whether it is the journalists putting pressure on the Queensland selectors in the lead up to Origin to pick a certain side. We the fans need to start putting pressure on the selectors rather than the journalists as I don’t always trust their judgement.
When the Queensland side was at its peak, the side picked itself but now they are just a group of mostly average players again and the underdogs for this series.
We need to start putting pressure on the selectors to come up with a side that is in form and the best 17 players available, not just 17 players that have played before at Origin level and were penciled in 12 months ago.
Let’s get the selectors and journalists to do some homework. Pick the side based on running metres, tackles per game, tackle efficiency, kicking efficiency and all the factors that make a good player and a team.
My 2020 Queensland team
Fullback: Kalyn Ponga. He is elusive. He has good feet. He is a bit small for carry backs at Origin level therefore they need wingers that can make some metres.
Winger: Kyle Feldt. He kicks goals and makes metres, but there is a big question mark over his hands. He needs to make everything stick.
Centre: Michael Morgan. There is a big question mark over form, confidence and generally a lack of speed as a centre however he should be able to help organise the defensive line at the very least.
Centre: Dane Gagai. He is Mr Reliable and can score a try at Origin level.
Winger: Ronaldo Mulitalo. He plays wing and makes reasonable metres but needs more.
Five-eighth: Cameron Munster. He is elusive and has a great dummy. His kicking game can be good and bad, but overall he is a must.
Halfback: Daly Cherry-Evans. He has a good kicking game, but he runs sideways too much at Origin level. He needs more decisive running and consistency.
Lock: Patrick Carrigan. He made over 250 running metres in a game recently. He must be included.
Back-rower: Corey Horsburgh. He is a young player making over 100 metres a game. He needs to be included.
Back-rower: David Fifita. He has a big reputation, but hasn’t really delivered yet at Origin level. He needs to bring everything.
Front-rower: Josh Papalli. He is good for short periods. He is explosive when he is on the park. He needs to be fired up.
Hooker: Cameron Smith if he makes himself available, otherwise Jake Friend to add muscle in defence. But he needs to run and test the defensive line.
Front-rower: Jai Arrow. He is the best Queensland forward over the last few years and needs to lead the way.
Bench player: Moses Mbye. He was solid last year.
Bench player: Josh McGuire. He is a good hard worker but will be lacking fitness once the Cowboys exit the regular season. He needs to stay fit.
Bench player: Ethan Lowe. He is solid and can kick goals.
Bench player: Ben Hunt. He was solid in previous Origin appearances but needs to penetrate with some running and make all his tackles and cover the ruck when he is on the park.
18th man: Felise Kaufusi. He is not making enough consistent metres so he is 18th man.