Sam Dasey runs his eyes over the contenders for Origin to pick who he thinks should be at ANZ Stadium on Wednesday 27th of May for Game one.
Contenders: Brett Stewart, Josh Dugan, Matt Moylan
Brett Stewart should be picked for Origin one. He doesn’t have the flair that Jarryd Hayne had and that Josh Dugan possesses, however he is a consistent performer who positions himself well and you know that you will receive a solid performance from the Manly number one. Was almost the forgotten man in the race, however sent a timely reminder to coach Laurie Daley that he is ready via a stand out performance against Newcastle on Sunday.
Contenders: Akuila Uate, William Hopoate, Daniel Tupou, Alex Johnstone, Josh Dugan
Daniel Tupou has been outstanding the Roosters this year, despite the tri colours mixed start to the season. He has the height to trouble any opposing winger in both attack and defence and doesn’t make many errors at all. On the opposite side, Alex Johnstone, as young as he, deserves his taste of Origin football after playing for Australia in a doomed Test match. He will be a stayer in the side for years to come. People have been saying Dugan should be considered however after seeing him play there for his nation, he looked out of position on the flanks. Uate is a hard runner, however is too suspect in defence to warrant selection.
Contenders: Josh Morris, Michael Jennings, Will Hopoate, Josh Dugan, Dylan Walker
Josh Morris and Michael Jennings seem impossible to overlook for this role, though should they underperform in the opening round, Dylan Walker looks set to be thrown in the role. Dugan looks a far better centre then winger, so is another option should injury or form hit the incumbents.
Contenders: James Maloney, Josh Reynolds, Blake Austin, Luke Keary
The form of Reynolds is questionable at best, and his recent spate of suspensions makes him a liability if picked. Maloney has had a good start to the year, however has a high rate of missed and ineffective tackles, leaving it to left field choice, Blake Austin. Since arriving at the Raiders, Austin has been a revelation, particularly when given room to move in attack. He flexed his muscles for City by scoring three tries in an energetic performance, and led the Canberra team to a 56-16 point drubbing of the Titans. Not only is his attack on song, but his defence has been brilliant, making a number of try saving tackles and running down speedster David Mead when he looked certain to score for country. Austin is the man of the moment and has the determination and skill to get NSW a second series in a row.
Contenders: Mitchell Pearce, Adam Reynolds, Trent Hodkinson
Trent Hodkinson got the role last year, however following on from Origin the Bulldogs halfback has failed to reach the some lofty heights. Mitchell Pearce has been there before perhaps giving him the edge of Adam Reynolds, however the South Sydney halfback has shown his worth by leading his side to a premiership last season. Unfortunately for A. Reynolds, his injury may have come at the wrong time, costing him exposure and match fitness, and making Pearce the likely candidate for the halfback position.
Contenders: Paul Gallen (pending injury), Trent Merrin, Ryan Hoffman
Paul Gallen will play here if he is fit but that seems to be extremely unlikely. The Blue’s captain is an automatic selection however has not been able to take the field for his club for a number of weeks now, putting him in serious doubt for the first game. Trent Merrin will fill the large hole left by the tireless Gallen.
Contenders: Beau Scott, Aiden Guerra, Boyd Cordner, Ryan Hoffman, Trent Merrin, Joel Thompson, Ryan James, Luke Lewis
NSW are blessed with great stocks in the second row department, which will leave Laurie Daley with some welcome headaches. There are a number of players pushing for debut roles, however you can never put too many debutants in at once. Ryan Hoffman should get the nod for the role, however alongside him it could be time to look towards the future. Beau Scott will partner Hoffman, with both capable of winning the wrestle over their Queensland counterparts in the early stages.
Contenders: Andrew Fifita, David Klemmer, James Tamou, Tyson Frizell, Aaron Woods, Paul Vaughn
Andrew Fifita has really hit his straps this season, having had a quiet and troubled 2014. His effort to score a try that should have won the game for Cronulla against the Warriors was nothing short of strength and determination, pushing past a number of would be defenders to crash over. He earns himself a starting role, alongside Wests Tigers and Australian representative Aaron Woods, who has been great again this season.
Contenders: Robbie Farah, Nathan Peats
Robbie Farah is a walk up start to this position. Last year, the Tigers number nine was under pressure from Peats before the Parramatta player ruptured his ACL. Since returning from the injury this year, Peats hasn’t reached the same standards, leaving Farah the last man standing.
Luke Lewis earns a spot on the bench, knowing he can fill the utility role if needed. Paul Vaughn deserves a spot with his form in 2015 outstanding for the Raiders, while Tyson Frizell has been likewise for the Dragons. Josh Jackson has been immense for the Bulldogs this year and earns his spot on the bench, and almost in to a run on role.
Sam Dasey’s Blues side for Origin I, 2015:
- Brett Stewart
- Alex Johnstone
- Josh Morris
- Michael Jennings
- Daniel Tupou
- Blake Austin
- Mitchell Pearce
- Andrew Fifita
- Robbie Farah
- Aaron Woods
- Josh Jackson
- Ryan Hoffman
- Trent Merrin
- Luke Lewis
- Tyson Frizell
- Paul Vaughn
- Josh Jackson