There can be little doubt that change is needed at Origin level for the New South Wales Blues. Unfortunately, the side has been a distant second to their northern neighbours for too many years now and it's time to move on.
Brad Fittler has been installed as coach of the state and has brought on an experienced yet fresh support staff.
Change is needed at the playing level also, with multiple former Origin players either out injured or struggling for form.
WANNA PLAY COACH? Pick Your Origin Team!
There is a huge chance that the Blues will call upon a number of first-time Origin players to combat the might of the Maroons.
We take a look below at a few of the likely Origin hopefuls:
Josh Addo Carr
As it stands the Melbourne flyer would be the first player picked if I were tasked with choosing the side. The Blues need an attacking weapon out wide and Addo Carr is the fastest and most exciting outside back in the competition right now. Speed, elusiveness and the ability to play what's in front of him are all traits that the Blues need and Addo Carr has in spades. Measure the fox up now for that sky blue jersey.
The Rabbitohs number nine will be number one for the Blues dummy half role in a few weeks time. He's outplayed Cameron Smith across the entire season, something we haven't seen for near on a decade. Last year the Blues went a safe option in Peats and although he did not let them down he lacked the creativity needed to win an Origin game on his own back. Cook and McInnes will battle it out, but I'd play Cook for the 80 minutes.
Another potential game breaker out wide that the Blues need to look at. For mine the days of Dugan and Ferguson are done, the Blues need speed and attacking flair. They have to outscore the likes of Inglis, Holmes, Gagai and Chambers. James Roberts is an absolute freak out wide when given space. I'd love to see him tearing up the right hand side of Queensland's defense. If he has a big few weeks, he's really hard to over look.
Right now there is absolutely no argument in the world as to why the Dragons enforcer should not be there come Origin one, and in the run on side at that. Last year he was overlooked for whatever reason and it was a grave mistake. There's no chance Fittler makes the same error in not picking the in-form Red V giant. He's one of the game's best front rowers and if he isn't in the top two eligible Blues then I absolutely give up.
The names Woods and Klemmer delivered a World Cup victory but RCG is the man I would have run on with Vaughan come game one. He's an absolute monster of a man in peak form. RCG himself had a huge World Cup tournament and made a real difference when he came on. In my opinion, you lead with your best, in form big men, and that's RCG and Vaughan. He HAS to at least be on the bench.
Jack de Belin
The second Dragons set for an Origin debut is Jack de Belin. He'll likely be the first player picked from the bench for the series opener given Jake Turbo will be the starting lock. JDB is the perfect player for his role given he can play lock or in the front row.
Sims is the fourth Red V forward who should represent his state and rounds out the entire Dragons back row. Sims is playing at an elite level for his club right now and should walk into the rep footy scene. An aggressive, ball playing, wide running forward, Sims is perfect for the role. He was in the talk for a bench spot even before Wade Graham's injury.
Despite his shocker for the Sea Eagles on Sunday afternoon Tommy Turbo should be there in sky blue for Origin One. I'd still pick him at fullback but his most likely position is on the wing. A Turbo and Addo Carr wing combination is far superior to anything the Blues have presented in the past few series. If you forget his nightmare afternoon against the Chooks he has been in supreme form in an awful, awful side.
It would be a big risk to blood five, or even more, on debut in the series opener, but as I see it the Blues have no choice. The time for change is now.
WANNA PLAY COACH? Pick Your Origin Team!