With State of Origin not too far away, everyone has an opinion and their thoughts on what the NSW team should look like. There is no doubt that this series is crucial for Laurie Daley, because it’s very likely his position as coach will be questioned if NSW don’t win the series whilst planning for long-term success.
Here is my 17 and why:
Fullback: Josh Dugan
Most people would have James Tedesco and he more than likely will be the Fullback, but Josh Dugan had been the most consistent Fullback eligible for NSW. Compared to Tedesco, Dugan beats him in the stats of most points scored, tries and hit ups for this season and has played in two less games than Tedesco. Dugan is a bigger body and the big runs from kick returns will be crucial. Dugan deserves the first chance to play in his favoured and best position.
Wingers: Jarryd Hayne, Blake Ferguson
Hayne has shown what he is capable of since returning from injury and was NSW’s most important player when they last won the series in 2014.
Ferguson has shown what he is capable of in recent weeks, with the injury to Tom Trbojevic the spot opens up for Ferguson. On recent form, should be picked.
Centres: Dylan Walker, Jack Bird
Walker has been in career best form and one of Manly’s best all season. Walker is playing better than when he was surprisingly picked last season.
Bird has been one of the form centres in the game, has to be in the team.
Halves: James Maloney, Mitchell Pearce
Maloney has been consistent all season and is the only logical option for NSW at 5/8.
Yes, Mitchell Pearce has copped a lot of shit for his past performances at Origin level. But, Pearce has been the only Halfback eligible for NSW putting his hand up by performances on the field. He is a crucial part of what the Roosters have done this season. You can’t find a more experienced and qualified halfback in the NRL right now, to play for NSW. The incumbent Adam Reynolds, hasn’t been great this season and still trying to get over a injury.
Back Row: Boyd Cordner, Wade Graham, Tyson Frizell
Cordner should not only be in the team but should be the captain of NSW. He is a leader of the Roosters pack, he is a co-captain of the Roosters and a premiership winner. He is a no-brainer selection.
Graham has been one of the best backrowers this season and was unlucky to miss out on a selection for the Australian team.
Frizell was a great addition for NSW last year and has been in freat from this year. Strong defensively and runs good lines, deserves to start at lock.
Front Row: Andrew Fifita, Paul Vaughan
Fifita breaks tackles, offloads and can dominate games by himself, was the best player in the Grand Final last season and has continued his great form into this season.
Vaughan has played great footy since moving to the Dragons, on form alone he deserves his spot in the team.
Hooker: Nathan Peats
Peats has made a huge difference to the way the Titans have played since he returned from injury. He should be the Hooker for NSW now and for the foreseeable future. Will add creativeness out of the Hooker position, which is something that NSW have lacked in recent years.
Bench: Tyrone Peachey, Jake Trbojevic, Jack De Belin and Shannon Boyd
Peachey will add strike and versatility off the bench. Trbojevic is always consistent, gets the job done for Australia and will do the same for NSW. De Belin is consistent each week for the Dragons, averages 128 metres a game, deserves his spot in the team. Boyd adds Impact off the bench and is hard to stop.
1. Josh Dugan
2. Jarryd Hayne
3. Dylan Walker
4. Jack Bird
5. Blake Ferguson
6. James Maloney
7. Mitchell Pearce
8. Andrew Fifita
9. Nathan Peats
10. Paul Vaughan
11. Boyd Cordner (c)
12. Wade Graham
13. Tyson Frizell
14. Tyrone Peachey
15. Jake Trbojevic
16. Jack De Belin
17. Shannon Boyd