With monster clashes against the Kiwis and Tonga coming up, the Kangaroos are about to name an all important 17.
Billy Slater, Cameron Smith, Cooper Cronk and Jonathan Thurston are all names that will be missing come the naming of the side, meaning an entire new spine for the Roos for the first time in a LONG time.
This is the side I believe will be picked, not the side I would name. Let us know your side in the comments.
1. James Tedesco
With Kalyn Ponga in a moonboot and Valentine Holmes holding a plethora of records on the wing, the Roosters number one will edge out Tommy Turbo for Slater’s vacated number one jersey. The tri-colours custodian has had a magic season after his massive money move from the Tigers. He was arguably the Blues best in the Origin series win and has everything in his game. A near automatic choice.
2. Josh Addo-Carr
This wing spot is the most open across the entire back line. Dane Gagai and Turbo will be there while Josh Mansour’s name will also be mentioned, but for mine you go with the form winger of the competition in Addo-Carr. Another who has enjoyed a monster season and had a brilliant Origin series. His speed and power will be a difference in two games that are expected to be blockbusters.
3. Latrell Mitchell
As close to as automatic choice as there is. The Roosters centre will be first centre picked such has been his dominance in 2018. He will edge the man he bathed in the Origin series in Will Chambers. He and Addo-Carr will reunite their successful Origin partnership and will have opposition centres staying up at night. He may kick goals also after a stellar year off the tee.
4. Greg Inglis
It will be massive to see Greg Inglis return to the Kangaroos outfit. It is well deserved and is another choice that will cause major headaches for opposition defenders. Inglis was probably Queensland’s best in the recent Origin series after being named captain. He will be named for captain for the Kangaroos also, capping off a magical career across club, state and country.
5. Valentine Holmes
Holmes will push Tedesco all the way for the number one spot but its his incredible try-scoring potency on the wing that will see him shifted. Holmes is probably still the best winger in the world as show during his ridiculous Origin series. He was a weapon when shifted out wide for the Sharks and will cause plenty of chaos outside of Greg Inglis, another all Origin combination.
6. Cameron Munster
Munster will step into the number six and is now the game’s premier five-eighth. There’s a line of thinking that James Maloney will play six, DCE seven with Munster off the bench, but for mine Munster is the only option at six. His running game is second to none in terms of halves and his kicking game has come a long way. He will defend all day and will be coming off a third straight Grand Final.
7. Daly Cherry-Evans
With news that James Maloney will be ruled out due to an upcoming surgery, there really is only one option. DCE will edge out the man he replaced at Origin level in Ben Hunt, while the likes of Nathan Cleary and even Matt Moylan haven’t done enough. DCE’s kicking game will be of huge importance as he looks to guide his huge pack around the park. May kick goals if needed, or can shift to nine if called upon.
8. David Klemmer
Klemmer will be the first forward picked. He has an incredible season for a horrible Bulldogs side and had a monster Origin series also. His aggression is still there although the silly penalties seem to have taken a back seat. Klemmer has become a pack leader through necessity and has matured beyond words. He will be the run on prop for every side he plays in for many years to come.
9. Damien Cook
With Cameron Smith hanging up the boots there simply isn’t any other option here other than the supremely in form Damien Cook. He had a brilliant season for Souths and an even better Origin series. Was my player of the series. He was most people’s player of the series.
10. Regan Campbell Gillard
This was the most difficult position to cast and may see Aaron Woods return to the rep arena, or Josh McGuire or even Jack de Belin shifted. In my view you don’t play forwards out of position at this level unless their name is Paul Gallen. RCG to edge out Jordan McClean and co for a run on prop position. He will start hard and fast and will bash opposition forwards for the opening 20 minutes, allowing the more creative big men to come in.
11. Boyd Cordner
An outside chance of captaining the side, but an absolute certainty to be in the run on side. Cordner has been gigantic for the Roosters and was even better for New South Wales. Captained the side to the first series win in almost forever and despite playing injured, has been huge. Cordner will run wide with super star, lightning quick, backs outside him. Danger signs.
12. Tyson Frizell
Frizell will be there somewhere, whether it be in the run on side or off the bench, but for mine you start your best forwards, and Friz is second only to Cordner. Friz was one of the few Dragons who didn’t suffer massively when the side fell away. He is a mainstay at every level now and is a no brainer selection. Will see plenty of minutes and action. Important piece of a the puzzle.
13. Josh McGuire
McGuire will edge Jake Turbo for the run on lock spot, although he may be shifted into the front row if required. Will play in the middle regardless. Super aggressive and intimidating, and chock full of footballing ability. He’s a player you loooove to hate but a player you’d trust to be the last man standing in every situation. He’ll be up against the best in the business in Jason Taumalolo. Huge test.
14. Jake Trbojevic
Turbo may move into the front row or run on side in the 13 but off the bench he offers so much. Can play anywhere in the forwards and will ensure the talent and work rate does not drop off when the bench is employed.
15. Felise Kaufusi
Another who may join the run on side in place of Frizell, but another who offers plenty off the bench. He is a monster forward with plenty of speed and a clever offload. Weapon.
16. Jack de Belin
Its risky not naming a specialist prop on the bench but de Belin’s game at lock is so similar to a run on prop it doesn’t really matter. Will likely come in after 20/25 minutes and will make an impact.
17. Bunt Hunt
Probably the most controversial selection here but despite a few overblown errors, Hunt had a brilliant series and wasn’t horrible at Origin level. The utility spot has become customary and Hunt can play halves or nine. Michael Morgan is injured opening up this role. Ponga won’t be fit.