BRISBANE, AUSTRALIA - JUNE 22: Adam Reynolds of the Blues looks on during game two of the State Of Origin series between the Queensland Maroons and the New South Wales Blues at Suncorp Stadium on June 22, 2016 in Brisbane, Australia. (Photo by Chris Hyde/Getty Images)

Changes are inevitable. Whether it be through form, suspension or injury, change comes knocking sooner or later.

New South Wales made a stack of them, and it handed them their second series win in a decade and a half. Some say you shouldn’t mess with a winning formula, but what if you could improve it?

That’s why THIS is New South Wales’ must pick team ahead of State of Origin Game I.

1. James Tedesco (Origin games: 7)

It’s an obvious one, but he’s easily the best fullback the Blues have. He’s been here, done it before, the incumbent Kangaroos fullback and a premiership winner. Someone that genuinely worries Queensland.

2. Josh Addo-Carr (Origin games: 3)

‘The Fox’ was brilliant last series, scoring two tries in his three games, and looking dangerous with every touch. A big series from the Indigenous All Star could see him claim Valentine Holmes’ vacant left wing spot for Australia at season’s end.

3.  Latrell Mitchell (Origin games: 3)

This one needs no explaining. He’s being talked about as the best player in the game right now, everything he’s touching is turning to gold. There’s not a single Queensland centre that could handle Mitchell’s explosive form right now. Will Chambers is sweating bullets.

4. Jesse Ramien (Origin games: 0)

People are saying this strong centre is in bad form, but that’s not exactly the case. He’s getting no ball on that right edge for Newcastle. He’s using his opportunities when he gets them, but they’re limited at best. He can defend, and someone that could turn nothing into something out wide for the Blues.

5. Blake Ferguson (Origin games: 7)

This would be quite the redemption story. Ferguson was dropped from Origin after a single match for drinking before a game. He returned for 2016 and 2017, but he just wasn’t ready for Origin football. In fact, in seven games on the wing for NSW, he failed to register a single try. Now, the reigning Dally M Winger of the Year and premiership winner is a changed man and a new player. His metres coming out of his own end are invaluable, and a true asset. If you were a Queensland half on the last tackle, who would you rather kick to – Tedesco, Addo-Carr, or Ferguson? An incredible back three.

6. Luke Keary (Origin games: 0)

This seems like a must. Keary’s form in the last two games of 2018 was phenomenal, and he has been just as if not more brilliant at points this year. Simply put, he’s ready for State of Origin football. He’s now played for Australia, he’s won two premierships, a Clive Churchill medal. He’ll be there.

7. Adam Reynolds (Origin games: 2)

Now hear me out here. Reynolds is playing career-best football, and he’s been here before. He wasn’t fantastic when he last played Origin in 2016, but he certainly wasn’t bad for New South Wales. He has matured as a footballer, he’s sitting in the top ten for Dally M points right now, second in the NRL for kick metres. Not to mention Luke Keary and Adam Reynolds are a premiership-winning halves combination. He can control the game, and Keary can play what he sees.

8. Paul Vaughan (Origin games: 3)

His name may not be up in lights, but he has been arguably the form prop of the competition and has already won an Origin series. His late footwork really troubles opposition forward packs and can use this series to become a real leader for his state.

9. Damien Cook (Origin games: 3)

This bloke is as safe as they come. He’s the most explosive hooker in the game, the Kangaroos’ hooker is second in try-assists this year as he proves 2018 wasn’t just a one-off. As fast as he is crafty, Cook can tear slow Queensland forwards apart late in a game, and has a great club combination with Adam Reynolds.

10. Dave Klemmer (Origin games: 12)

One of the most experienced forwards this side has, Klemmer has been a wonderful acquisition for Newcastle this season. Even if his form line was average, he’d still be one of the first men picked. Aggressive and a competitor, Klemmer is the necessary big body for the Blues and will lead from the front.

11. Boyd Cordner (c) (Origin games: 12)

The captain of not only his state but his country as well, Cordner runs a line as well as anyone in the competition. And with Keary on his inside and Latrell his outside, Cordner will be able to run shapes from clubland, knowing where the players about him are and here they’ll be. Can tackle all day.

12. Tyson Frizell (Origin games: 8)

Ever since he burst onto the scene in Game II in 2016, Frizell has looked every part an Origin player. That chase on Gagai was memorable, he doesn’t give up for a second, and that’s just how he plays. Tenacious as they come, he’ll do damage running off Reynolds’ hip.

13. Cameron Murray (Origin games: 0)

This kid is a freak. Some will be screaming that Jake Trbojevic should be starting at lock, but look at last year’s form in Origin, started off the bench with de Belin at 13, and once Jake hit the park he never left. Murray is the form lock of the competition, can play 80, rarely misses a tackle, but it’s his quick play the balls that have Freddy Fittler drooling. Those play the balls with Cook scooping it up should have every Queenslander on red alert. Once Murray plays Origin football, he’ll be there every year until the day he retires. The future.


14. Cody Walker (Origin games: 0)

Someone like a Jack Wighton or Clint Gutherson could cover more positions, and Fittler has indicated he doesn’t have room for Radley and Murray in the same 17, but Cody is in the rarest of form. The South Sydney five-eighth leads the competition for tries scored, fourth in try-assists and in linebreak-assists, inject him at the 60th minute and watch him exploit tired defenders.

15. Jake Trbojevic (Origin games: 6)

Jake isn’t an 80-minute player, that’s why you start him from the bench, get him onto the field at about the 20th minute, you can leave him out there for the rest of the contest. He can ball play, his tackling technique is perfect, can play anywhere in the pack.

16. Angus Crichton (Origin games: 3)

His form isn’t quite where it was at the Rabbitohs’ this time last year, but the Roosters have so many stars, you can’t blame him. He was solid off the bench for the Blues last year, and will certainly do a job on an edge. Has a former club combination with Adam Reynolds on the right edge, and can play centre if someone goes down injured.

17. Jordan McLean (Origin games: 0)

Tariq Sims may be unlucky to lose his spot, but New South Wales needs a specialist prop on the bench. Reagan Campbell-Gillard hasn’t been the same since he broke his jaw, and McLean, who has played international football for the Kangaroos, has really stepped up in the absence of Jason Taumalolo. Could be the glue for that middle third when Klemmer comes off the field.

New South Wales Best Line-Up

  1. James Tedesco
  2. Josh Addo-Carr
  3. Latrell Mitchell
  4. Jesse Ramien
  5. Blake Ferguson
  6. Luke Keary
  7. Mitchell Pearce
  8. Paul Vaughan
  9. Damien Cook
  10. Dave Klemmer
  11. Boyd Cordner (c)
  12. Tyson Frizell
  13. Cameron Murray
  14. Cody Walker
  15. Jake Trbojevic
  16. Angus Crichton
  17. Jordan McLean


  1. My NSW Team
    1)James Tedesco
    2)Josh Addo-Carr
    3)Latrell Mitchell
    4)Jarrod Crocker
    5)Blake Ferguson
    6)Luke Keary
    7)Adam Reynolds
    8)David Klemmer
    9)Damien Cook
    10)Jake Trbojevic
    11)Boyd Cordner
    12)Tyson Frizell
    13)Dale Finucane

    14)Cody Walker
    15)Paul Vaughan
    16)Cameron Murray
    17)Angus Chrighton

  2. “Have to pick”… seriously? You’re kidding yourself if you think Ferguson deserves the nod ahead of Josh Morris. Ferguson is prone to brain-fade & handling errors. Morris is a tried & true performer. PLus Ferguson’s a dick.
    And J-Turbo’s not an 80min player? Hilarious! Mate, do you even watch football?! And Cody Walker as an interchange! Bwaaaa ha ha ha ha ha..!

  3. Good team but I would pick Josh Morris instead of Croker and Tariq Sims instead of Finucane. To me, Croker doesn’t play tough enough for Origin whereas Josh Morris certainly does, and Sims is just a better player than Finucane

  4. Angus Crichton wasn’t all that important for the Blues last year, and he’s not exactly knocking down the door this year either. You’d be better off either going for a utility like Mitchell Aubusson or Clinton Gutherson or another front rower like Payne Haas or Junior Paulo.

  5. 1. Tedesco
    2. Ferguson
    3. Ramien
    4. Mitchell
    5. Addo-Carr
    6. Keary
    7. Reynolds
    8. Klemmer
    9. Cook
    10. Trbojevic
    11. Cordner
    12. Frizell
    13. Murray
    14. Walker
    15. Vaughan
    16. McLean
    17. Sims
    18. Radley

    Nsw will play the same way as last year, have a somewhat smaller forward pack and focus more on ruck speed and supporting through the middle and when the defence gets condensed and tired, throw it out wide where Mitchell or Addo-Carr can get 1 on 1 with a defender. As for the right centre seems like Ramien is the only one available as the options are all left sided players and even though Croker May deserve his spot he really only got good at defending on his side of the field this year, I don’t think changing sides of the field will help that.

  6. Would have Tariq Sims over Angus Crichton (just hasn’t looked the same since moving to the chooks). Would also potentially swap Cameron Murray and Jake Trbojevic around… not doubting Cam’s ability, it’s just that Jake has the experience over him. Murray will get his chance to be a starting blues backrower for many years to come.

  7. Fergo is the reigning dally m winger of the year and has carried that form to the Eels. Do you even watch footy?

    The handling errors are all but gone from his game, he is fantastic under the high ball and he averages 200m per game. He is no longer the dickhead he used to be.

    Morris is a solid player, now, not a rep player anymore.

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