SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - MAY 27: (L-R) Payne Haas, Nick Cotric, Cody Walker, Cameron Murray and Jack Wighton pose during a New South Wales Blues State of Origin media opportunity at North Bondi Surf Club on May 27, 2019 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Matt King/Getty Images)

The team named by Brad Fittler was always going to contain a shock or two.

A monsterous injury crisis combined by a sharp dip in form of some of the incumbents dictated as such.

That said, the team read out on Sunday night has sent social media into a spin.

There were the obvious choices, a few tough 50/50 calls made, two left field options and one almighty shock.

Below we look at the main talking points.

The Obvious Choices:

For all the positions in question, there were plenty of no brainer decisions for the NSW brass.

Names like Tedesco, Cook, Addo-Carr, Vaughan, Klemmer, Jurbo, Cordner, and Frizell was always going to feature.

Cameron Murray gave selectors no choice in the matter and became an absolute must-select.

Cody Walker's form was hard to ignore and after the injury to his only competition Luke Keary, there was only one choice.

It's from these players where I believe game one will be decided.

For all their talent, the Maroons don't have a Damien Cook. They don't have a Josh Addo-Carr and they don't have a forward in the form of Cam Murray.

There were some obvious choices here but for mine, those three are NSW's big weapons next Wednesday night.

The 50/50s:

I don't think it's unfair to suggest that a few members of this Blues outfit were very lucky to hold onto their jerseys, mainly due to performances last year than 2019 form.

I also don't think it's unfair to state that Nathan Cleary is the luckiest player in the game right now.

Many, myself included, were shocked when his name was read out as Cody Walker's halves partner over Adam Reynolds. I'd go so far as to say Mitchell Pearce was ahead of him pre injury, and believe Luke Keary would have played halfback if available.

Angus Crichton won a tight battle with Ryan Matterson after failing to justify the hype and price tag of his off-season shift to Bondi.

Both players have plenty to prove in this series but if they play like they did in 2018, they should be fine.

The left field:

Freddy has dived into the retirement ranks to solve his right centre crisis, opting for Sharks centre Josh Morris.

On form, you cannot deny Morris was the right choice, but he'll have to switch from his preferred side to make his return to the Origin arena.

The other choice many have seen as strange is selecting Raiders youngster Nick Cotric over the likes of Daniel Tupou.

Personally, I like both choices. Cotric is a monster and has Origin written all over him and Josh Morris has done it before at this level and is in good form in the Shire.

The shock:

Much of the pre-Origin talk was on who the Blues would select as their utility player, if any.

Many names were mentioned; Tyrone Peachey, Mitch Aubusson, even John Asiata. One name who didn't have much air time was Raiders full back turn five-eighth Jack Wighton.

Full disclosure, I don't hate this selection by any means, but it did shock me.

I'm not a fan of picking a utility for the fun of it. It is a tactic that, if you have the right player, can be a huge advantage, or it can be a wasted bench spot.

Where does Wighton play in Origin one? I'm not sure.

Certainly not at hooker. Perhaps in the centres or at five-eighth if QLD lead with 20 to go, but I just can't read this game plan.

Maybe he'll play as Ponga did last year and defend in the middle and chime in when he sees fit.

This will be interesting. Certainly the big discussion point of the Game One selections.

Huge turnover:

Many expected, after last year's series win, that we would see much the same side run out in years to come. This will not be the case.

Maloney (form), Roberts (form), De Belin (stood down), Sims (form), Peachey (form) and Tommy Turbo (injury) are all absent.

That's a huge turnover considering the youthfulness of the squad last year.

I applaud Fittler for going with form. It's easy to stick with a core side when you have four or five future immortals like the QLD side of the past decade.

2 COMMENTS

  1. If Freddy was picking on form, Reynolds would have been halfback over the highly overrated Cleary.
    If we lose game one it will be more than likely due to the fact we have a halfback who has been made to look good by his halves partner.

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