Wayne Bennett rounded out his Origin squad this past Sunday night by naming the final six players.
The QLD-based Storm were always likely to feature heavily given the amount of ridiculously talented players available for selection.
Three possible debutants were selected, including one relative shock selection.
Below we break down the final six members of the squad those north of the Tweed hope will bring back the Origin Shield:
The Storm big man was already a lock for selection prior to Sunday, however his performance certainly didn’t hurt.
He topped the metres for the Premiers, in terms of their forwards, with 132. He also made a team high 42 tackles. Welch will absolutely be there for Game One and will be charged with containing the Blues big, agile pack.
He brings brilliant form and almost 100 NRL games worth of experience into Game One so I believe he is extremely well placed to put forward a huge effort. He’s got an offload is clever enough to create space for his outside men.
He graduated from a bench player to big minute playing starting prop for the Storm and may be called upon for similar at rep level.
Munster vanquished the demons of his 2018 Grand Final performance with a more typical effort this past Sunday. There is a line of thought that Munster may play centre, or possibly even fullback come Origin One, but I really think you need your best players in their best positions and Munster is one of the best number sixes in the game.
He and DCE will lead the Maroons in the halves but I think it is Munster who is the state’s most important. If he plays well, QLD are a shot. If he doesn’t, then they’re almost no shot.
Possible hyperbole but Munster could have a huge say in where the Shield ends up.
The shock selection. If you’d told me at any stage in 2019 that Brenko Lee would play Origin just 12 months later I would have scoffed. No chance.
Step in Craig Bellamy. It should be no shock truthfully, Bellamy has made a career and won titles on the back of turning fringe reserve graders into superstars. Olam and Lee were probably in the bottom few centre pairings pre-season yet now stand as the Premiership winning centre combination.
I fully expect Lee to run out for game one. Whether that be at centre or wing depends on what Bennett decides is best for Dane Gagai. I think he plays centre. Needs a monster game as he’s going to have to contain an all star NSW edge.
Automatic selection. Kaufusi was huge again in 2020 to the shock and surprise of absolutely no one. He’ll be among the first players picked to run out for QLD in Game One.
You know what you’re going to get from the rep regular. He’ll need to be at his very best to combat the strike weapons out wide for the Blues but there is no doubt Kaufusi will give 100% to do so.
It’s very likely there we will be a young centre option outside Kaufusi, unless Gagai is selected at centre, so his importance to this Maroon’s side cannot be understated. Genius footballer.
Love this. Tino made it impossible to overlook him for selection and I would be absolutely gobsmacked if he’s not there come Origin One. He’ll make his debut off the bench but he has match changing potential.
Titans fans are licking their collective lips knowing the youngster is headed north for 2021. He’ll surely do so with three Origin caps to his name. I can’t wait ’til he hits the field next Wednesday night.
I think the odds of him giving away an early penalty or six again are really short. Aggression and talent. Brilliant selection.
After coming so close in recent years, I believe 2020 is the year where the ultra talented Capwell debuts for Queensland.
He’ll surely be in the running for that utility spot on the bench, especially now that Ponga has been ruled out which makes Brimson the favourite to take over in the number one.
Capewell, a few errors aside, was brilliant after stepping in for the suspended Kikau in the prelim. He can play anywhere from centre to the back row and even in the middle if required. I believe his utility value makes him an almost must select come Origin One.
Keep an eye out tomorrow as we name our Predicted 17 for Origin One.