With both Origin squads now named, it seems that literally everyone has had their say about the selections.
Dylan Walker was probably the only real ‘shock’ selection, however there were a few players who can consider themselves mightily unlucky.
Last year we presented the ‘back up’ sides that NSW and QLD could post if injuries were suffered.
This year we’re taking a slightly different, naming sides containing players who weren't named due to injury, suspension, form, or whatever other reason saw them overlooked.
1. James Tedesco
Given the form he was in for a below par Tigers outfit, if he was fit my guess would be that he would be lining up for his first Origin jersey on Wednesday night. If Moylan plays well, he may see out the series, however if not, Tedesco is waiting in the wings.
2. Brett Morris
A near automatic selection in any rep side. Safe to say if he had been fit and playing regularly, he’d be in the side.
3. Josh Morris
Desperately unlucky to miss out after serving his state well in the past. Perhaps the only man who can contain Greg Inglis, Morris was selected in the initial squad however released back to the Dogs. The Dugan selection is risky, if he is towelled up, expect Morris to be recalled.
4. James Roberts
Roberts is one player I expect to pull on the sky blue for NSW in the future. His form has been good, however not such that Laurie Daley could look past Michael Jennings or Josh Dugan. One for the future.
5. Tom Trbojevic
Another young player who I believe has a huge future in the NSW set up. His age and lack of experience kept him out of the squad. 2016 is not his year, but I’d expect to see him in the squad around 2018.
6. Jack Bird
Although only in his second year at NRL level, most fans asked why Bird was overlooked for the out of sorts Dylan Walker. Bird is another who has a massive future at rep level, but is probably not there yet. That being said, he’s not far off, and can play almost anywhere. I'd probably not pick him in the halves but he has to be in this side somewhere.
7. Mitchell Pearce
Despite reports to the contrary, I still believed Pearce would be picked despite a horror run for the blues, and having only played three games this season. If Reynolds or Maloney falter, expect Pearce back for Origin two.
8. Jake Trbojevic
Much like his brother, Jake Turbo has many Origin jerseys in his future if he continues to develop. He’s a brilliant footballer who can make a mountain of metres and tackles, yet still find the energy to break the line or provide an offload that leads to points.
9. Michael Ennis
On form, Ennis has Farah beaten by a country mile in 2016, but Farah was chosen due to the fact he has performed well at Origin level in the past. Ennis probably could not have done more to demand selection and is arguably the most unlucky player to miss out on the squad entirely.
10. Trent Merrin
Merrin is another who was unlucky to miss the cut, but will be back in the future. He has been brilliant for the Panthers, who will be glad not to lose him. Can play lock or front row, and I’m surprised he was overlooked for a bench spot.
11. Wade Graham
I can’t imagine the Cronulla star was far off selection. Having yet another brilliant year in the Shire and looks ready to take the next step should injury occur or a change be needed.
12. Bryce Cartwright
Originally picked as a ‘development player’ but released after injury, Cartwright is a genuine match-winning forward and perhaps the most exciting young forward in the game. If he can cut the errors and improve his miss-tackle count, he won’t be named 19th man in the future but instead in the run on 13.
13. Tyson Frizell
The last player released back to club duty after initially being selected in the squad, Frizell is the most likely to be called up should an injury occur. A brilliant young talent who has international experience for Wales.