With Laurie Daley set to pick his side for game II later today, I’ve assembled my side to take the Origin shield away from the Maroons for the first time since 2005.
1. Jarryd Hayne: Picks himself after one of the greatest performances in Origin, leading the side to a magical victory in game 1.
2. Will Hopoate: Was 18th man for game 1 and has been there before. He is in fine form for the Parramatta Eels.
3. Josh Dugan: After struggling in his first game at centre for the St George Illawarra Dragons, he hit back with a timely hat-trick and is big, strong and fast.
4. Michael Jennings: Quiet in game 1, but it wasn’t a game for the outside backs, and he is the best option available.
5. Daniel Tupou: Like Dugan, recently scored a hat-trick, so is in good form. Didn’t have the opportunities to showcase his aerial prowess in game 1, look for that to change for game II.
6. Josh Reynolds: Made the five eighth position his own with a great display in game 1, although flirted with the judiciary in the process.
7. Trent Hodkinson: A polished display in his debut and will be even better for the experience.
8. Paul Gallen (c): With the return of Greg Bird, Gallen moves to prop which won’t change his style.
9. Robbie Farah: Made some easy metres through the middle in game 1 and is an established Origin player.
10. James Tamou: Went toe-to-toe with the Maroons pack in game 1 and came out on top.
11. Beau Scott: Tough as nails and eats broken glass for breakfast (probably). Loves getting physical and won’t take a backwards step when the Maroons try the rough stuff.
12. Greg Bird: Loves the Origin arena, loves the rough stuff and we love him for getting in the face of anyone in an Maroons jersey. Welcome back.
13. Trent Merrin: He may start from the bench, but I’d be throwing him in at the start after a massive game for the Dragons on the weekend where he ran for 256 metres and made 25 tackles.
14. Aaron Woods: Did nothing wrong in game 1, but makes way for the return of Bird, which pushes Gallen to prop.
15. Luke Lewis: As reliable as ever, despite injuries restricting his number of NRL games in 2014.
16. Anthony Watmough: Likely playing his last series after several below par performances, but is a safe option.
17. Ryan Hoffman: Like Watmough, probably playing his last series after several quiet games, but can provide a cool head and experience from the bench.