BY CURTIS WOODWARD
You know State of Origin is getting closer when every Tom, Dick and Harry start throwing around their preferred New South Wales and Queensland lineups. While the Maroons team generally always picks itself, others have almost made a full-time living just from selecting Blues sides. Should Mitchell Pearce get another chance? Does he want another chance? Is Robbie Farah still our best option at hooker? Questions, questions, questions!
GETTING THE SPINE RIGHT
James Tedesco, Matt Moylan, James Maloney and Nathan Peats
Some people believe Robbie Farah and Mitchell Pearce should be at Suncorp Stadium for Origin I but how can you justify it? Farah isn’t exactly setting the world on fire at South Sydney with Damien Cook relegating him to the bench. He’s also on the wrong side of 33 – it’s time we move on. Thanks Robbie, we appreciate your effort. Nathan Peats is a gutsy little hooker and he’ll fit right in. Then there’s Pearce who has been awesome for the Sydney Roosters but he also brings baggage with him. James Maloney and Matt Moylan were fantastic for the Blues in Game III last season and there’s no reason to think they can’t do it again. James Tedesco at fullback is a no-brainer.
David Klemmer, Andrew Fifita, Junior Paulo, Paul Vaughan and Jake Trbojevic
What’s scarier than David Klemmer charging straight at you? Andrew Fifita running at you on the next play! Klemmer and Fifita will have the job of knocking the stuffing out of the Maroons early before unleashing Paulo, Vaughan and Jake Trbojevic. All three of these men bring something different to the bench and can be used tactically by Coach Daley depending on what’s needed.
UTILITY BENCH SPOT
To start Jarryd Hayne in the centres or bring him on from the bench? There would have to be a serious concern as to whether Hayne would be targeted by Queensland if they had 80 minutes to probe his defensive reads on the fringe. To me, Jack Bird and James Roberts looks far more dangerous as a centre pairing. Imagine being able to insert Hayne into the game as a roving lock/second fullback!
— Sophia Po'uhila (@magcon_5sos_luv) June 20, 2014
Blake Ferguson, James Roberts, Jack Bird and Tom Trbojevic
Dylan Walker is in outstanding form at Manly-Warringah but so too is Brisbane’s James Roberts. They’re both lightning on their feet but Roberts has the bigger body and deserves his chance to shine. According to reports he’ll only be out for a few weeks with an ankle injury. Jack Bird gives the Blues some mongrel out wide and he will not shirk his responsibilities in the defensive line. With Josh Dugan out, Blake Ferguson picks himself on one wing after a big performance against New Zealand while I’m handing Tom Trbojevic his Origin debut on the other. Size, speed and x-factor.
This may come as a shock as Boyd Cordner will probably get the captaincy but I think there’s something to grooming Wade Graham for the role long-term. Maloney would have no problem manning the fort for a year with Graham named as vice-captain for the 2017 series before Graham took over from 2018.
— TEN News Sydney (@TenNewsSydney) April 28, 2017
PRESSURE ON DALEY
Laurie Daley can’t stay “loyal” to guys that have lost the series time after time. His job is on the line and he needs to be bold. If he picks the same old team and they lose again, Daley should walk.
My NSW Blues team:
1 James Tedesco
2 Blake Ferguson
3 James Roberts
4 Jack Bird
5 Tom Trbojevic
6 Matt Moylan
7 James Maloney
8 David Klemmer
9 Nathan Peats
10 Andrew Fifita
11 Boyd Cordner
12 Wade Graham
13 Tyson Frizell
14 Jarryd Hayne
15 Jake Trbojevic
16 Paul Vaughan
17 Junior Paulo
18th Man: Jordan McLean