The 2020 season is now nearly behind us and all that’s left for us diehard League fans is the State of Origin series which kicks off in Adelaide on Wednesday 4 November.
Due to Covid protocols, each team has named 27 squad players who will enter a quarantine bubble, and final playing squads for each match will be selected from these players.
The NSW Origin squad looks like this.
Hookers and halves
That is one very talented squad and, with few exceptions, has been picked solely on form. The “pick and stick” selection model is now a thing of the past, and form is paramount.
Notably, ten of last year’s NSW Origin representatives won’t be playing this year due to either lost form or unavailability for one reason or another – Latrell Mitchell, Josh Morris, David Klemmer, Paul Vaughan, Tariq Sims, Blake Ferguson, James Maloney, Tom Trbojevic, Wade Graham and Mitchell Pearce won’t be there this year.
Coach Brad Fittler now has a wealth of talent at his disposal, and will be very disappointed with anything less than a dominant series victory.
Despite the quality of the squad overall, the non-selection of Apisai Koroisau came as a big surprise. Koroisau has been tipped by nearly every league pundit to be in the squad, and by many to be in the run on team ahead of Damien Cook.
I can’t see how he could be left out given the impact he’s had on the Panthers this year, and going into the series with only two hookers seems to be a risk. This is one case where form has definitely been overlooked.
Fittler has plenty of options and good coverage in most positions, and one of his biggest problem looks like fitting all the talent into his run on team. He’ll want to have attacking dynamos Clint Gutherson and Ryan Papenhuyzen on the field somewhere, and he also has a big decision to make in the halves, in choosing between Keary and Walker at five-eighth.
Whichever way he goes, you’d expect that the NSW team will have far too much class across the paddock for QLD.
The run on side for Origin 1 will probably look something like this.
1. James Tedesco
2. Nick Cotric
3. Jack Wighton
4. Clint Gutherson
5. Josh Addo-Carr
6. Cody Walker
7. Nathan Cleary
8. Payne Haas
9. Damien Cook
10. Junior Paulo
11. Boyd Cordner
12. Cameron Murray
13. Jake Trbojevic
14. Ryan Papenhuyzen
15. Daniel Saifiti
16. Dale Finucane
17. Angus Crichton
Bring it on!