Following this weekend’s round of matches, NSW Blues coach Brad Fittler will finally unveil his side for the State of Origin opener against Queensland on Wednesday, June 6.
Like many fans and experts have been doing these last few weeks, I thought I’d have a crack at picking my Blues side for Origin I in Melbourne.
Fullback: James Tedesco
Teddy’s form over the last month and a half has probably been a tad better than the other contender, Tom Trbojevic. He’s also played Origin before and deserves another shot.
Wingers: Josh Addo-Carr and Nick Cotric
I’ve got a workhorse and I have a game winner. Both guys do the hard yards. The theme of my team this year is speed and I’ve got that in bucket loads with my wingmen.
Centres: Latrell Mitchell and Euan Aitken
Latrell has a great rapport with my five-eighth Luke Keary at the Roosters. He’s made for the Origin arena and is probably stronger defensively than Brisbane’s James Roberts. I’ve also picked Euan Aitken based on form. He’s enjoyed a great 18 months at the Dragons and keeps getting better. For me, he’s one of the top centres in the game.
Five-eighth: Luke Keary
Luke is a great runner and has plenty of speed to burn. Keary also combines very well with Latrell Mitchell and his possible inclusion will allow James Maloney to control the game nicely.
Halfback: James Maloney
James Maloney has been the best game manager in the competition so far this season. He’s shown over the last few weeks at Penrith that he doesn’t need a dominant playmaker with him, he can do it all on his own.
Props: Reagan Campbell-Gillard and Paul Vaughan
A stat surfaced this week which suggests these two aren’t the form props for NSW but I don’t care about stats, I select on the eye test. Vaughan has been superb for the Dragons since he arrived and RCG has taken his game to another level.
Hooker: Damien Cook
Cook can play close to 65 minutes and his speed out of the ruck will be a huge advantage for the Blues. He also has a nice little kicking game, if he needs to use it. He’s a competitor and deserves to debut.
Backrowers: Boyd Cordner and Tyson Frizzell
Cordner and Frizzell virtually pick themselves in this side. Cordner won’t have to play 80 minutes because NSW will have a handy bench, but he’s been there plenty of times before and knows how to get games started. While Frizzell has plenty of pace and is probably the best backrower in the competition.
Lock: Jake Trbojevic
Jake is a great ball player and can be that link man to the outside backs, but he can also play in the middle with the forwards. For me, he’s been an important cog for Manly and can do it on the big stage.
Bench: Tyrone Peachey, David Klemmer, Jack De Belin and Wade Graham