State of Origin in the ultimate sporting contest. The ultimate rivalry.

I don't care what anyone from those other codes say; forget Collingwood vs whoever. The Sydney Derby is fun when there's nothing else on. The Reds and Tahs 'rivalry' is laughable.


In every contest, every single battle is mouth watering. The potential battle of the fullbacks; Teddy vs Ponga, is worth the price of the ticket alone.

The battles in the halves over the previous years have been so noteworthy. The battle for Mitchell Pearce to finally win an Origin series despite 37 different halves partners is one of the best storylines in recent Origin.

Of course, the Cam Smith vs anyone battles dominated the past decade. Many challenged but no one was ever able to top the mast at Origin.

BRISBANE, AUSTRALIA - MAY 30: Cameron Smith during the Queensland Maroons State of Origin captain's run at Suncorp Stadium on May 30, 2017 in Brisbane, Australia. (Photo by Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images)

The biggest Origin battle every year though comes in the middle of the park. The forwards. No, these battles don't always attract the media attention of the fancier positions, but I guarantee you if you offered Green/Freddy a battle they're guaranteed to win come Origin One, they're choosing the forwards.

Ironically this is the position where the Blues ALWAYS seem to hold the decisive advantage.

I say that because despite having, at times, twice the name value of their Maroon counterparts, the NSW Blues big men are have often been on the wrong end of an Origin wake up call.

Don't get me wrong, even in the supposed "worst QLD side ever" last year, the QLD forwards were still top notch in terms of quality and performance.

That said though, the Blues have dominated the second row stocks for a long time. From Ben Kennedy to Boyd Cordner, the Blues always seem to have the first second-rower picked for the Kangaroos.

In the most recent series for instance (albeit in 2019) the Roos back rowers were Cordner, Frizell and Graham, all blues. The locks were both Blues options also, ensuring an all Blues 11-13.

Watch Dan Nichols below discuss the recent crackdown on Rugby League Outlaws

ORIGIN WATCH: Possible New South Wales Debutants

This year though, I'm sensing it may be time for a bit of a shift in power. With all due respect to the likely back row for the Blues of Crichton, Frizell and either Trbojevic/Yeo, I believe the Maroons might have finally taken the advantage.

That's nothing against the Blues pack. Crichton is arguably the best back rower in the game and the first option I'm picking for any side in the world where he's eligible, but that QLD equivalent is looking damn fine.

Felise Kaufusi, despite what you may think re recent incidents, has been an elite-level back rower for many years now. He has nine appearances for the Maroons and four national caps. You always know what you're going to get from the Storm wide-running weapon.

He also knows Origin. Built for it. Always plays his best games for the Maroons. As someone born and living South of Tweed it absolutely frustrates me. His holding down late in last year's games were the kind of moments that make you throw things at your television.

Embed from Getty Images
They managed to hold on to win both games though as a result. Pretty sure he was sent to the sin-bin for similar tactics in the Grand Final that, you guessed it, his side also won.

At lock will either be Titans monster Tino Fa'asuamaleaui or Jai Arrow. Both have Origin experience, last year in fact, with big Tino putting in an especially big performance in his debut series.

Whichever way Paul Green goes, that's a big in. It could be argued that Jake Trbojevic is far below his best form and honestly, if given the choice, I'm taking Tino over Turbo.

The X factor though comes in the form of the player who could play a huge part in deciding the outcome of this upcoming series: one David Fifita.

I love Tyson Frizell, Fifita's likely direct opponent, but this is David Fifita we're talking about here.

Embed from Getty Images
I'd say he's overtaken Viliame Kikau as the game's most destructive wide-running back rower. He has literally broken opponents en route to a monster start to the season.

Whichever half is tasked with containing him will be hoping Friz has eaten his wheatbix that morning because it's going to be a long night.

If David Fifita is on, then there's no-else like him in the Origin arena. I say "if" because there have been games this season where I had to go looking to see if Fifita was still on the field.

I have a feeling he will be 'on'. He missed last year's series, which had to hurt. He's yet to really stamp his mark on the Origin arena just yet, despite three games in 2019. Don't get me wrong, he played well, but he's yet to have that monster game we all know he's capable of.

2021 could be the year. Paul Green will be in his ear. Cam Munster and DCE will be in his ear. You better believe the fans will be behind him.

If Fifita is on, then the former, perceived, weakness that was the QLD back row suddenly becomes a great strength.

Good luck to those tasked with containing him.