State of Origin has been run and won for another year. Queensland has pulled off another famous underdog victory over a more fancied New South Wales outfit. It is now 43 years and counting and it still catches us by surprise!
At the start of this series there was talk that there wouldn’t have been many Queenslanders outside of Cameron Munster who would have been hypothetically picked in the NSW side.
With Munster hauling the Maroons to victory in Game 1 and a dominant Blues victory in Perth, maybe not much would have changed after Game 2. But last night’s win may have changed the landscape significantly.
If I was picking an Australian side, it would look something like this:
1 – James Tedesco (NSW)
Teddy was probably NSW’s best over the series and one of the few who can hold his head up after Game 3. No real serious threats to his spot yet.
2 – Dane Gagai (Qld)
Gagai is probably a better winger at this level than a centre. Brian To’o is unavailable. So is Daniel Tupou, but he’s also unpickable after Game 3. Queensland’s other wingers in Corey Oates, Xavier Coates, Selwyn Cobbo and Murray Tuilagi aren’t quite there.
3 – Valentine Holmes (Qld)
Clearly the form centre of the Origin series and arguably of the NRL. The other option would be Holmes on the wing for Gagai and Jack Wighton into the centres.
4 – Latrell Mitchell (NSW)
If Tom Trbojevic were fit he slots in the three quarters somewhere – possibly here. As he’s not I think Latrell gets the nod over Jack Wighton and Dane Gagai.
5 – Josh Addo-Carr (NSW)
Maybe I’m biased but I still think he’s the best winger in the country and an incumbent. His non selection for NSW was a big blunder. I think Mal Meninga will pick the Fox.
6 – Cameron Munster (Qld)
Arguably first player selected – and the argument would be pretty brief.
7 – Daly Cherry-Evans (Qld)
He’s the incumbent and while I think Clearly has a greater ceiling and will have the jersey for a long time, I don’t think he’s done enough to win it just yet or DCE to lose it.
Cherry-Evans is in career best form. His kicking game is sublime and he constantly comes up with effort plays. In my team he gets the nod as skipper too.
8 – Tino Fa’asuamaleaui (Qld)
I think he was the best middle forward over the three games after Carrigan. He’s mobile and tough, the prototype for the modern front rower.
9 – Ben Hunt (Qld)
Playing great for the Dragons and has been lifting at rep level for years. The Hunt / Grant rotation worked superbly for Queensland. He adds cover for the halves and can play around the ruck as well. His 40/20 in Game 3 was a game changer.
10 – Payne Haas (NSW)
Struggling with injury so his selection is based on the assumption he’s got time to get fit.
11 – Kurt Capewell (Qld)
Capewell has a great all round game and goes hard on every play. His first half try epitomised the ‘wanting it more’ Origin spirit as he burrowed between two Blues to get to the loose ball.
12 – Cameron Murray (NSW)
Knocked out of Game 3 and a slightly quiet series overall early but brings a lot of skill to the edge and those quick play the balls.
13 – Patrick Carrigan (Qld)
The ‘find’ of the Origin series and well deserved Wally Lewis medal winner. Changed the game for Queensland off the bench in Game 1, held his own in Game 2 and went next level in Game 3.
14 – Harry Grant (Qld)
As above, the bench rotation with Hunt has worked brilliantly. Best hooker in the NRL by some way.
15 – Josh Papali’i (Qld)
With middle third players like Fa’asuamaleaui, Carrigan and Haas, big minutes aren’t needed from the bench. I think Papali’i played well in Origin despite limited minutes and he’s been a favourite of Meninga’s in the past. Maybe he starts with Tino off the bench.
Alternative would be Junior Paulo.
16 – Jake Trbojevic (NSW) or Isaah Yeo (NSWj
Jurbo is a personal favourite of mine and another incumbent – albeit from three years ago. His value was best expressed in the way he was missed by NSW in Game 1. Yeo didn’t have a great series, but wasn’t bad. Who you go with depends on whether you want to tighten the middle or add another attacking element.
17 – Jeremiah Nanai (Qld)
Almost surprised myself that I’ve picked Nanai. His Game 3 was brilliant. Still a lot of rough edges but he comes up with plays that not many other edge forwards are capable of.
Huge future and could be a weapon off the bench.