SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - SEPTEMBER 23: Latrell Mitchell of the Roosters scores a try during the NRL Preliminary Final match between the Sydney Roosters and the North Queensland Cowboys at Allianz Stadium on September 23, 2017 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Matt King/Getty Images)

It was inevitable but the Origin talk has already begun. Although we are still almost two months away from game one kicking off in Melbourne, the shadow of the interstate series looms large.

We’ve seen sports journalists name their side and readers have a chance to pick and share their side here.

Below are the sides firstly that I would choose, and the side that I expect to be picked come Origin One:

NSW Origin Side I think will be picked:

  1. James Tedesco
  2. Blake Ferguson
  3. Josh Dugan
  4. Michael Jennings
  5. Tom Trbojevic
  6. James Maloney
  7. Mitchell Pearce
  8. Aaron Woods
  9. Nathan Peats
  10. David Klemmer
  11. Tyson Frizell
  12. Boyd Cordner
  13. Jake Trbojevic

  14. Wade Graham

  15. Reagan Campbell-Gillard
  16. Josh Jackson
  17. Jordan McLean

Now, much more importantly, the side I would pick to end QLD’s reign:

Fullback: Tom Trbojevic

The first controversial selection as most would expect Tedesco (as do I truth be told) to be the first player picked. Tommy Turbo has been in electric form in an up and down Manly side and should be chosen to line up in his favoured position. We need three routes of attack and Turbo plays as a third half for Manly. He will be there, likely on the wing, but I would build the side around Tommy T.

Wing: James Tedesco

This is risky and if Teddy is picked it will be at fullback, but for mine Tommy Turbo simply cannot be overlooked for the fullback role. That said, you have to have Tedesco in there somewhere. His ability to return the ball and break tackles out wide would provide a real danger, especially outside Euan Aitken on that right-hand side. It won’t happen, but it should.

Centre: Latrell Mitchell

The wildcard in the side but to the honest the only option at left centre. Michael Jennings, Josh Dugan, James Roberts are all options but in my mind, Mitchell is the genuine game-breaker in great form. He scored a worldly try last night against the Bunnies and has been among the Roosters’ best all season. Could very easily switch to wing if needed but I’d get him involved as much as possible.

Centre: Euan Aitken

A huge shock here but if form means anything you can’t overlook the Dragons centre. QLD’s outside backs have given the Blues a bath for many series now so we need someone who can defend and attack rather than just one. Aitken is in red hot (pun intended) form for the ladder leading Dragons and is an absolute no-brainer. Although he represented Scotland previously he’s eligible.

Wing: Josh Mansour

Although he’s not been at his best, Mansour is one of the game’s elite left wingers and should be chosen to play outside Latrell Mitchell. That left edge would worry even the best of defences. The Blues have to find a way to match the QLD elite wingers of Dane Gagai and Valentine Holmes. A Mansour and Tedesco combo is our best hope. Blake Ferguson has been tried and has failed many times at this level. Time to move on.

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Five-Eighth: Blake Green

The second major shock of this team but another who, on form, should be a walk up starter. No eligible five-eighth in the competition is playing better football than the Warriors number six. He tackles hard, kicks well, injects when needed and is the ultimate professional. There’s about a 1% chance he’ll be chosen but I’m a big believer in form and Green is flying right now.

Halfback: Nathan Cleary/James Maloney

I need to clarify this. If Cleary is fit and has three games back under his belt I’d pick him. If not then Maloney is the man. Maloney has played very well this season in patches but the QLD’ers have monstered him for years now. There’s zero chance I’d pick Mitchell Pearce. Cleary was in great form pre-injury and if he can return to his best before the series, he has to partner Green.

Prop: David Klemmer

Klemmer was one of the Kangaroos’ best in the World Cup in the front row and has never let his state down previously. The Dogs’ struggles are through no fault of their big man. He has been immense at Origin level previously and should replace teammate Aaron Woods as the first prop picked. Should announce himself as the state’s pack leader in this year’s series.

Hooker: Damien Cook

An absolute no-brainer. As good as Nathan Peats, Apisai Koroisau and Cameron McInnes are, Cook is THE form number nine in the competition. He’s an 80-minute player which means you don’t have to carry a 7-12 minute ‘impact’ player on the bench, he’ll tackle all day and if markers drop their attention for a second, he’s through. The ultimate number nine, he has it all.

Prop: Paul Vaughan

Should have played last year, surely cannot be overlooked this year. Vaughan is one of the best big men in the game. He has a motor few others can match and hits the ball up as intensely in the last minute as in the first. Queensland’s forward pack bossed ours in last year’s decider. Not many have won battles with the Dragons enforcer over the past year and six rounds.

Second Row: Boyd Cordner

Despite injury concerns and a slight drop in form, Cordner will be picked and should captain again. He’s a magical back rower and is capable of lifting his side by leading from the front. There is really no argument against selecting Cordner. The only possible decision is whether to start him or bring from the bench but I’m a firm believer of you start your best side.

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Second Row: Tyson Frizell

Another who may be inserted from the bench but I’d start with a back row of Cordner and Frizell. He can play lock but I’d rather him running wide and hammering the likes of Morgan, DCE or Milford for the opening 25-30 minutes. Having a wow of a season for the Red V and has been one of the blues best since he was selected. Automatic selection.

Lock: Jake Trbojevic

There has been a lot of talk about the number 13 role for the Blues and I just don’t understand it. Jake Trbojevic is the man. He’s the best ball playing lock in the game and arguably in the top few defensive players also. A middle of Vaughan, Klemmer and NSW’s very own JT makes for beautiful reading. Can play front row if needed when the bench rotation starts.

Interchange: Reagan Campbell-Gillard

Had a monstrous World Cup campaign for the Kangaroos and should carry that, and strong club form, into the interstate arena. He, Klemmer and Vaughan would form a fearsome front row rotation, with Jake T adding a fourth when needed. A no nonsense footballer, he’s exactly what the Blues’ bench has been crying out for. Should be fed raw meat in the lead up and unleashed for two 10-15 minute spells.

Interchange: Wade Graham

Arguably should be starting, but on form, I’d go with Cordner. Wade was another who had a brilliant World Cup for the Kangaroos and has plenty of rep experience now. He’s a leader at Cronulla and could take over the duties if Cordner does come off for a rest. His kicking game adds a dimension out wide that few other back rowers have. Hasn’t hit peak form this year but must be selected.

Interchange: Jack de Belin

De Belin is in red hot form and that should not be ignored. The Blues have lost momentum from the bench in past series’ and with de Belin, a genuine big minute player, he can be injected at any time and can be counted on. I’d bring him on 25 minutes in to replace Klemmer, with Jake T moving to prop. That middle has to be rock solid at all times as they will see a mountain of traffic.

Interchange: Angus Crichton

The X-Factor. The spark from the bench. No more of this ten-minute utility nonsense, we need four forwards who can change the game. Crichton is an absolute must for mine. He stood up on Thursday in an under-manned Bunnies pack and led the way for his side. He will run all day and can break the line. Another big minute player who can fill in pretty much anywhere up front if needed.

Note: This team was selected before round six, meaning injuries suffered over the weekend were not taken into account.


  1. Was this article written a month ago?

    Pearce, Peats, Woods, Jackson – Yep I’d believe it, but I hope not. Especially Pearce. How ridiculous would that be. If he’s picked then the selectors clearly wouldn’t be results driven. In the corporate world, the CEO would be sacked for continually putting together a team that doesn’t perform. The manager (Pearce) would be the first to go in a realistic appraisal on performance. Lets face it, the selectors are the ones who haven’t performed at all for 10 years. So whoever selects the selectors should get sacked as well –> The NSW chairman!
    McLean – Thought he was definately out.

  2. My god if Freddy stays loyal to the likes of Ferguson (Although in good form), Pearce, Woods, Peats and picks Jennings again, I will never watch Origin again lol. Hopefully Cleary is fit by then, I believe him and Maloney would fire together. Have Damien Cook in there cause he’s just a gun. Imagine him behind an even better forward pack for the blues!!! I do believe Trobjevic is in better form than Teddy, just can’t see Teddy playing wing.

    1. Tedesco
    2. Mansour
    3. Mitchell
    4. Dugan
    5. Trobjevic
    6. Maloney/Bird/Green
    7. Cleary/Maloney
    8. Vaughan
    9. Cook
    10. Klemmer
    11. Cordner
    12. Frizell
    13. Trobjevic

    14. Graham
    15. Campbell-Gillard
    16. De-Belin
    17. Jackson

    • That predicted lineup is pure insanity but not beyond the realms of possibility given how they’ve selected over the past decade.

      As much as I’d like to see NSW pick and stick, guys like Tedesco and Jennings are not only out of form, but haven’t exactly taken Origin by the horns..

      • BAHAHAHA Tedesco hasnt tooken Origin by horn? Been one of the blues best players when ever he plays: Here is my lineup:

        1. Tedesco
        2. Mansour
        3. Mitchell
        4. Dugan
        5. Trbojevic
        6. Maloney
        7. Cleary
        8. Vaughan
        9. Peats
        10. Klemmer
        11. Cordner (c)
        12. Frizzel
        13. Trobjevic

        14. Cook
        15. Graham
        16. Fifita
        17. Jackson

        • Teddy was good, but not great.. Not effective enough to be a shoo-in. I think teams have worked him out and he must evolve. I’d be opting for Tommy T.

        • Fifita has ruled himself out and I don’t like the idea of carrying two hookers in your 17. Graham could even be a utility off the bench if needed, but Peats offers nothing much. Other than that it’s a good team.

      • I think Teddy and Jenkins both have carved up in Origin in my opinion, just the results don’t speak for themselves. Tedesco had a blinder debut game in 2016, then the first two games last year he was good just pretty average or poor in the third. But Jenko has always been good in Origin, with the ball he was dangerous and he was defensively sound. Just think it’s past his time and time to look to someone like Mitchell.

  3. Nicholls you’re on drugs if you think that the team they’ll pick – then again, the selectors have been frequent drug users themselves so our worst fears could be realised. I agree with most of the team he would pick, with a few exceptions. Putting Tedesco on the wing just for the sake of picking him is crazy. And forget Crichton and graham, they’ve done both so far this year. Ado-Carr on the wing instead of teddy (let’s pick people in position for a change), RCG, JDB and Jackson on the bench (Jackson has never let anyone down in origin) and maybe Peachy for utility value.

    • haha I picked the exact side I’d literally hate to hear announced as expected so I feel better if its wrong

      • God help us if they actually pick a side like that. Most blues fans won’t even bother watching.

  4. 1 T Trbojevic
    2 Mansour
    3 Mitchell
    4 Aitken
    5 Ferguson
    6 Keary
    7 Maloney
    8 Vaughan
    9 Cook
    10 De-Belin
    11 Cordner
    12 Graham
    13 J Trbojevic

    14 Peachey
    15 Campbell-Gillard
    16 Klemmer
    17 Frizell

    Ive gone with Tom at 1, due to him being in better form and offering more than tedesco as a player, Tom has already over taken him. Freddy will stick with teddy, hes a rooster and tom will be on the wing.
    Mansour and Fergo on the wings, simply the two best wingers we have and both are big and can be great for kick returns. Mitchell and Aitken in the centres, both strong and fast, giving us some great dummy half carries. Maloney is the form halfback of the comp imo and continues to get better. Keary is fast and elusive, has a strong combo with cordner, future of nsw at 6. Vaughan and De-Belin two form forwards, both can bend the line, great defensively and have offloads in them. Cook at 9, as it has been stated the form 9 of the comp, plays 80 and off the offloads from Jake Turbo, Vaughan and De-Belin together with his pace and youd think Tom Turbo would be supporting him plenty of tries to be had. I would love this to be Api but Cook has over taken him on form, and it helps one of them is playing at a good club. Cordner is captain and the best backrower in the game. Graham to start as he has the abilty to put excellent pressure on play makers and his kicking game would be a nice addition. Jake at lock, pretty simple, best lock in the game and his ball playing will be another threat for QLD he and his brother will have a field day up the middle. Bench would Peachey, he can play anywhere and things happen around him. The rest of the give excellent impact.

    With Freddy as coach i think he will stick to his favorites. Dugan, Woods, Pearce, Tedesco will all play despite form.

  5. 1. Tedesco
    2. Ferguson
    3. Mitchell
    4. Dugan
    5. Trbojevic
    6. Green
    7. Maloney
    8. Vaughan
    9. Wallace
    10. James
    11. Frizzell
    12. Cordner
    13. Trbojevic

    14. Jackson
    15. Klemmer
    16. Merrin
    17. Graham

      • nah – good bill of health mate but thank you for asking.

        NSW can’t blood too many rookies to Origin. Merrin gives us experience, 2nd phase and some go forward. Wallace has been great at hooker for 2 to 3 years now and is a smart player who can create and can kick. Dugan is probably OUR best centre at the moment. Aitken is good too but wrong side.

        • I doubt you have a clean bill of health, it sounds like drug rehab is the way to go for you. Wallace is one of the oldest blokes in the comp and wouldn’t even be the 3rd best hooker in NSW ATM. If you think he’s going to provide more than cook, Mcinnes or even Koroisau your definitely smoking something. Merrin hasn’t done anything in years, not to mention De Belin gives you all those things you mentioned and more, aside from the fact he’s outplayed Merrin by a factor of about 10. As for Dugan, we’ll thats proof your using illicit substance (or just plain retarded). Aside from the fact he should have had a line put through his name last year, not just for mediocre play but for doing the usual Dugan thing of putting himself before team, he’s done nothing this year and Aitken is the form centre of the comp (along with Mitchell). Sure you don’t want me to send you a link for a good rehab centre on the northern beaches? Manly fans, the epitome of brain dead.

  6. 1Tom Trbojevic
    2.Josh Addo-carr
    3.Josh dugan
    4.Euan Aiken
    5.Josh Mansour
    6.Luke Keary/Blake Green
    7.James Maloney
    8.David Kemmerer
    9.Damian Cook
    10.Paul Vaughan
    11.Tyson Frizzell
    12. Wade Graham
    13.Jake Trbojevic

    14.Tyrone Peachy
    16.Wade Gham
    17.Jack debelin

  7. 1. Tedesco/Turbo
    2. Mansour/Ado Carr
    3. Croker
    4. Dugan
    5. Turbo/Fergo
    6. Maloney
    7. Cleary (if still unfit 6.Green 7.Maloney)
    8. Woods
    9. Cook
    10. Vaughan
    11. Cordner
    12. Frizzell
    13. Trjbovich

    14. De Bellin
    15. RCG
    16. Graham
    17. Klemmer

    * 8. Woods – Doesn’t deserve selection but will be.

    If Cook doesn’t get picked then the bench will need an impact player which would be Bird, Peachy or Mitchell

    I know Croker is a bias selection but I honestly think he deserves a shot.

  8. I can see only three certainties – Maloney, Cordner and Frizell. With injuries and form, the rest of the positions look pretty open. I haven’t seen enough games to make a logical selection, but from what I’ve seen, I like De Belin, Aitken and Cook. I also believe that a winger is now very much a specialist position – pick wingers to play on the wing, not fullbacks or centres.

  9. Dan I think you picked a great side. The only changes I would make would be the back five, the two halves, and six of the forwards, otherwise a great side.

    • And your side would be………

      I think he picked a decent team, just leave out Tedesco, Graham and Crichton and it’s spot on

      • I never pick sides, make predictions or make lists because I am always wrong. I was just trying to lighten up the conversation. Cheers.

        • Too easy, it was reasonably funny BTW, but don’t be afraid to be wrong. It builds character. Just ask all the manly supporters on this site.

      • I’ve seen Mitchell made to look silly against certain teams and I can’t see Maroons not doing the same. He still makes a lot of poor decisions which Blues can’t afford

        • Sometimes you just gotta take a chance dude. It’s either that or we go with the same bums we’ve been going with and Qld win again.

        • Exactly. Mitchell, Roberts, Leilua can all be unstoppable on their day, but the gap between their best and worst are to far apart. Question is, is it a risk worth taking in origin?

  10. My 9 goes to Mcinnes and not just because Cook and Api are in my fantasy team, mostly that but not only that.

    The Dragons are far and away the best team so far and I think although Mcinnes might not be looking as flashy as Cook has so far but you can’t argue with the results. By the way I was a Cook supporter until I actually watched a Dragons game this week and Mcinnes is a big part of their success.

    Also, hopefully the media don’t start declaring a new ear of NSW dominance like they did after one game last year lol.

  11. 1. Tedesco
    2. Addo-Carr
    3. Aitken
    4. Mitchell
    5. Trbojevic
    6. Keary
    7. Maloney
    8. Klemmer
    9. Cook
    10. De Belin
    11. Cordner
    12. Frizell
    13. Trbojevic
    14. Graham
    15. Campbell Gillard
    16. Vaughan
    17. Jackson

    Honestly, if Ferguson, Dugan, Woods, Jennings or Hayne are selected I will die!!!!

  12. 1. James Tedesco
    2. Blake Ferguson
    3. Euan Aitken
    4. Tom Trbojevic
    5. Josh Mansour
    6. Blake Green/Luke Keary
    7. James Maloney/Nathan Cleary
    8. David Klemmer
    9. Damien Cook
    10. Jack De Belin
    11. Boyd Cordner
    12. Josh Jackson
    13. Jake Trbojevic
    14. Tyrone Peachey
    15. Tyson Frizell
    16. Reagan Campbell-Gillard
    17. Paul Vaughan

    That’s my team I have got no reason to leave behind players like Wade Graham, Tariq Sims and Angus Chrichton, other then they are competing for the hardest jerseys in origin at the moment (second row for the blues).

    The inclusion of peachey allows you to have 3 middle men on the bench (I think Tyson Frizell is better suited in the middle for origin) as peachey can fill in second row, lock, hooker, Centre, and in the halves.

    Vaughan, Campbell-Gillard, Frizell give you a ton of impact and aggression off the bench, as the starters are more grinding big minute work horses

    The halves kinda speak for themselves I think everyone is going to have these 4 in or around there 17.

    Backs was difficult I think Latrell Mitchell is still defensively flawed to be picked also had a tendency to go overboard with his grubbiness. As for Dugan and Aitken although Dugan doesn’t do much in Origin he has been a brick wall in defence and makes good hard hit ups when needed but Aitken is also a very good defender at nrl level and also the inform centre in the game at the moment. As for turbo he has the size skill set to slot into Centre I also believe he has played there before aswell so it won’t be nothing new to him, which leaves two specialised wingers in Mansour and Ferguson, addo Carr is another option but I think he is still one or two years away if he continues his progression.

    Tedesco has been a mixed bag this year but last Origin series was feeling like a genuine game breaker every time he had the ball qld were are full guard and deserves a crack at them again.

  13. You got to pick players who have been consistently good over the last 1 or 2 years.. not because they have had a couple of good games recently

    1: J Tedesco
    2: J Addo Carr
    3: J Dugan
    4: T Trbojevic
    5: J Mansour
    6: B Green
    7: J Maloney
    8: D Klemmer
    9: D Cook
    10: R Campbell
    11: B Cordner. ( C )
    12: W Graham
    13: J Trbojevic

    14: T Peachy
    15: T Frizzel
    16: P Vaughn
    17: S Boyd

  14. I wouldn’t pick Wallace. He has tackled well this year & played better than last year. However, he has no real running game. Plus this is his last year. No future there.
    A few say Mansour, now he’s gone for an operation. I just don’t see it in any case. He may make ground in general, but not great under high kicks & not the fastest. There just has to be better , faster options.

  15. Have you actually watched Crichton play? Up until thursday night he was plain average doing nothing. Mitchells defence is way too poor to be considered as an origin centre, Inglis was smashing blokes twice his size at Mitchells age. Id go with this. Roberts is the better defender and try scorer anyway and Dugans a first choice centre for Australia, and he was half the reason Holmes scored those 11 tries in 2 games in the WC so just shift him to the left with the jet on the right

    1. T Trbojevic
    2. B Ferguson
    3. J Dugan
    4. J Roberts
    5. J Addo-Carr
    6. Green
    7. J Maloney
    8. Klemmer
    9. Cook
    10. P Vaughan
    11. B Cordner (C)
    12. W Graham
    13. J Trbojevic
    14. J De belin
    15. T Frizell
    16. R Campbell-Gillard
    17. C Walker/Keary

    • Forget Roberts and Dugan, Roberts defence is rubbish and he’s not exactly team first or the type of character you want to bring into a team like that. You’ve also got to remember Dugan playing decently against second rate test teams doesn’t mean squat when he lines up against qld. It may as well be a different sport and he’s never really come up with the goods in origin. Both these two and Lielua have crap attitudes at best. Mitchell had the same last year and Robinson booted him back to the reggies to learn how to pull his head in and it seems to have actually worked. I’d give him or Croker a crack at it alongside Aitken who is a must.

  16. 1. J Tedesco
    2. J Mansour
    3. L Mitchell
    4. J Bird
    5. T Trbojevic
    6. J Maloney
    7. N Cleary
    8. D Klemmer
    9. D Cook
    10. R Campbell-Gillard
    11. B Cordner
    12. T Frizell
    13. J Trbojevic

    14. W Graham
    15. J Jackson
    16. P Vaughn
    17. J De Belin

    18. J McLean

    Ferguson, Dugan, Pearce, Woods have all had their chance. Whilst Tedesco isn’t in the best club form, you need some level of continuity and player loyalty and he was good enough in last year’s series to regain the fullback spot. Same goes for Jack Bird.

  17. Anyone else see dugan as a utility? He can play fullback, centre, five eighth, possibly 2nd row as he’s has such a big frame.

  18. 1. Tedesco
    2. Dugan
    3. Atiken
    4. T Trbojevic
    5. Mansour / Mitchell
    6. Maloney
    7. Pearce / Cleary
    8. Vaughan
    9. Korisau / McInnes
    10. Klemmer
    11. Cordner
    12. Frizzell
    13. de Belin / J Trbojevic

    14. Cook
    15. Campbell-Gillard
    16. Graham
    17. de Belin / J Trbojevic

  19. 1. Tedesco
    2. Trbojevic
    3. Aitken
    4. Dugan
    5. Addo-Carr
    6. Green
    7. Maloney
    8. Klemmer
    9. Cook
    10. Vaughan
    11. Cordner
    12. Graham
    13. Trbojevic

    14. Peats
    15. Frizell
    16. Campbell Gillard
    17. De Belin

  20. 1. Tedesco
    2. Addo-Carr
    3. Euan Aitken
    4. James Roberts
    5. Tom Trbojevic
    6. Blake Green
    7. James Maloney
    8. David Klemmer
    9. Cameron McInnes
    10. Paul Vaughan
    11. Boyd Cordner
    12. Josh Jackson
    13. Jack de Belin

    14. Damien Cook
    15. Tyson Frizell
    16. Jake Trbojevic
    17. Tariq Sims

    Tedesco would be a better option at fullback as covers the field defensively quicker than Turbo, however with his skill and physical presence, Turbo cannot be left out. Addo-Carr and Roberts deserve their shot, they’re electrifying and can create something out of nothing and we have given the likes of Dugan and Ferguson numerous chances. Roberts and Addo-Carr should not be on the same side just due to their defensive weaknesses. McInnes to be the starting hooker with his combination with the dragons forwards who have been on fire so far, with Damien Cook providing that extra spark as an impact player with his lightning acceleration.

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