SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - JUNE 21: Cooper Cronk of the Maroons passes the ball during game two of the State Of Origin series between the New South Wales Blues and the Queensland Maroons at ANZ Stadium on June 21, 2017 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)

2017 Kangaroos Origin Merit Team named

Australian selectors have confirmed a special Kangaroos Origin Merit Team based on performances through the State of Origin series.

The selectors have named the inaugural Kangaroos Merit Team, which includes nine players from the series victors Queensland and eight from NSW.

The team is based on performances by all 43 players who took part in the 2017 Holden State of Origin series.

“This is a special squad – the inaugural Kangaroos Origin Merit Team – and clearly it is a very talented squad as well,” said Kangaroos Coach Mal Meninga.

Meninga said he hoped the naming of a Kangaroos Origin Merit Team following the interstate series would become a tradition.

“This has never been done before but I think it is an important step for the national team to make, based on the pathway from state through to international level.

“Overall it will be an acknowledgement of both personal and team performances as well as individual behaviours.”

Meninga said that ultimately form in the State of Origin series would be one of a number of criteria the selectors will take into account before settling on a 24-man World Cup squad – albeit an important one.

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“The selectors will be looking at past recent performances for the Kangaroos, overall form, Club success, form specifically in the Finals Series, form in the State of Origin series as well as the values and behaviour that we expect of Kangaroos players,” Meninga said.

“If a squad was selected for the World Cup today it might contain other players based on our overall selection policy. But this is an important recognition of the Origin players and their form through the series.

“Ultimately, Origin is only one of the stepping stones for players to make ahead of Kangaroos selection, although it is clearly an important one.”

The selectors decided on criteria whereby, to be eligible for selection in the squad, a player must have played two out of the three matches in the series. Players could be selected out of the positions they played in during the series.

“Put simply, the charter was to select the best team based on the State of Origin series and we believe we have done that,” Meninga said.

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This coming Wednesday marks 100 days until the 2017 Rugby League World Cup opener between the Kangaroos and England at Melbourne Rectangular Stadium.

2017 Kangaroos Origin Merit Team

Fullback: Billy Slater (Queensland, Melbourne Storm)
Wing: Dane Gagai (Queensland, Newcastle Knights)
Centre: Will Chambers (Queensland, Melbourne Storm)
Centre: Josh Dugan (NSW, St George Illawarra Dragons)
Wing: James Tedesco (NSW, Wests Tigers)
Five-eighth: James Maloney (NSW, Cronulla Sharks)
Halfback: Cooper Cronk (Queensland, Melbourne Storm)
Prop: David Klemmer (NSW, Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs)
Hooker: Cameron Smith (Queensland, Melbourne Storm)
Prop: Dylan Napa (Queensland, Sydney Roosters)
Second row: Matt Gillett (Queensland, Brisbane Broncos)
Second row: Boyd Cordner (NSW, Sydney Roosters)
Lock: Josh McGuire (Queensland, Brisbane Broncos)

Interchange: Michael Morgan (Queensland, North Queensland Cowboys)
Interchange: Tyson Frizell (NSW, St George Illawarra Dragons)
Interchange: Jake Trbojevic (NSW, Manly Sea Eagles)
Interchange: Josh Jackson (NSW, Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs)


  1. Whats everyone think the world cup squad will look like? I think we will see a couple of bolters also like Dylan Walker, Tom Trbojevic, Clint Gutherson.

  2. Val Homes needs to be in there. Josh Jackson won’t be on the bench. Andrew Fifita will probably be there. I’d like to see Jack Bird in the squad as a Centre/Five-Eight/Utility. I can see some bolters maybe Jarrod Wallace or Tommy Trbojevic.

    • I thought Holmes was very unlucky to get in this team. Had a much better series than dugan and Tedesco.

      • In fairness we won’t have any problems picking the 2 wingers, but most, like Holmes, aren’t centres.

        Looking at the list of options for the wings, and assuming Slater at FB, which I think we should, we have:


        That’s not all contenders by any stretch, but my point is I don’t think I’d play any in the centre at national rep level, but all are worthy of playing rep footy.

  3. Amazing how some of these names get through up especially when they couldn’t get a run in a beaten NSW team. Gutherson, really, even his coach doesn’t know what position he plays. Surely, Boyd, Munster, Wallace, etc. are in front of those blokes.

    • Most of NSW players didnt deserve there spots. Gutherson is second in the dally m count only beaten by Smith, Dylan Walker is the NRLs best centre and was robbed of a spot in the nsw backline this year, Tom Trbojevic is the best young player in the game and would have played this year if not for an injury. Why cant players play before they play origin? Jake Trbojevic, V Holmes both played for roos first. I can see those 3 blokes getting a spot.

      • I’m a huge fan of Gutho, who is proving to be an extremely versatile player, as opposed to “even his couch doesn’t know where to play”, but i wouldn’t have him in my list of contenders yet.

        It’s a huge step up to go from club level to rep level, so comparing a players performance at rep level (especially from 1 game) to a players performance at club level, and selecting teams like that will result in massive turnover, and poor results.

      • How can you say they didn’t deserve their spots. They won game one and lost game 2 by two points. Plus you all predicted them to win game 3. Talk about having an each way bet.

        • In fairness Holmsey, Leagues has got a point. It was happy days (for NSW) after game 1, and drop him, him and him, after game 2. 1 poor, or average rep game doesn’t make a bad player, but a couple should have us looking at options for that spot, and that’s when the very in form players at club level can be considered.

        • Come on holmesy lers not start having a go at everyone who disagrees with you again. Leagueguru has made a good point and was in no way disrepsectful yet you have resorted to name calling….

          For the record i dont think Gutho is deserving of an Australian jersey yet either. Bith Morgan and Bird are definitely ahead of him as far as the utility spot goes.

        • As good as gutho has been in club football, he wouldn’t even be in the frame for NSW, let alone Kangaroos.
          Morgan has the utility spot sewn up based on his performances in the SOO series this year and past years.
          Bird will be in the squad but not in first team, unless he is played at centre.
          I think Boyd will be FB ahead of Slater and would imagine the backline would be Boyd, Holmes, Chambers, Dugan, Gagai, Maloney, Cronk…

  4. Geez some of you need to take a chill pill. The d*ckhead comment wasnt serious just a bit of fun. Leagueguru all valid points mate but if you think the majority of the nsw team deserved there spots fair enough but honestly anyone who thinks that has no idea. Half the team made it because Laurie doenst pick on form he picks on his favorites. As for the world cup squad i think we will see some bolters. It will be hard to ignore Tom after his game against the Tigers today.

  5. Good to see oxygen thief fatfita didn’t make it after bludging his way through game 2 and 3. Do t know how Maloney and Dugan made it though.

  6. Fifita played the same in every game of that series, the difference was how he was defended. He didn’t do anything different, himself at all. Yet, here we are, claiming he is an oxygen thief – and why? because he got wrapped up and didn’t get his offloads out? Because he didn’t make a cover run when the game was dusted and they had been battered for most of it? I do not like the guy one bit – but he did no different in the second and third games. I agree, maybe you can’t pick him if he is going to be smothered before his offload comes out, but he didn’t bludge in those games, he did the same thing every time. The blame for game 1 goes on the qld defence, not Fifita. The credit for game 2 second half and 3 goes to the QLD defence, not fifita.

    • Ah…no, he bludged his fat a$&e off. How else do you want to explain Wallace’s try where he and Woods (another one not up to the task of origin football) stood by and let another front rower score the softest of tries.

      • I already did explain it. At that stage, the forwards of the losing team are going to be gassed. I reiterate, I don’t like the guy but he ran just as hard in the second and third games. The difference was how the defense dealt with him. He was made to look much better than he is, in game 1.

  7. Hope to see youngsters like Ash Taylor and Nathan Cleary named for the World Cup side. Maloney wasn’t impressive and Cronk might be retiring at least from rep duties next year so it’d be good to see the next generation start to get a look in.

    Taylor, Cleary and Munster are IMO the three that need to get a look in, even at the expense of more seasoned players like DCE or Norman.

    • Couldn’t agree more. Taylor and Cleary are killing it (unfortunately went to the game where Taylor was all over the dragons) and as for Munster, well, if he’s not the test 5/8 for the next decade I’ll be amazed. He’s strong, fast, highly skilled and best of all (as long as you’re a qld or storm supporter) he has a go. Based on the other night, if I had to pick a young player to build a team around, I’d pick Munster.

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