PERTH, AUSTRALIA - JUNE 23: A general view as the Australian national anthem is played during game two of the 2019 State of Origin series between the New South Wales Blues and the Queensland Maroons at Optus Stadium on June 23, 2019 in Perth, Australia. (Photo by Will Russell/Getty Images)

Rugby League is set to return tomorrow. Not a moment too soon, although we will take this opportunity to explore one more “What if Wednesday”.

Right about now the debate re Origin selection would be red hot, so we’re going to look at how the sides would line up if both NSW and QLD named a squad today.

The below are the sides I believe would likely be selected. Of course this is largely guess work given form and injuries would likely be different if footy had continued as planned.
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We’ve taken this into account as well as current injuries. Below are the sides then the explanations. Please let us know below who would make your current Origin sides.

What if the State of Origin sides were picked today?


NEW SOUTH WALES

1. James Tedesco
2. Josh Addo-Carr
3. Tom Trbojevic
4. Jack Wighton
5. Blake Ferguson
6. Luke Keary
7. Mitch Moses
8. David Klemmer
9. Damian Cook
10. Paul Vaughan
11. Tyson Frizell
12. Boyd Cordner
13. Jake Trbojevic

14. Payne Haas
15. Wade Graham
16. Cameron Murray
17. Kotoni Staggs

Breakdown

– Latrell Mitchell is the biggest name left out. Right now he is caught between playing fullback or centre and I believe this may hurt his chances. NSW will also likely stick with the centre pairing that delivered the Shield in 2019. Tommy Turbo has to be there somewhere, as does Wighton.

– Moses is selected over incumbent Pearce and former halfback Cleary. Moses is the future of the Blues number seven jersey.

– Keary finally debuts for the Blues after multiple false starts. Forget the QLD comments in the past, Keary is the state’s best option in six and replaces the departed Maloney.

– Cordner is selected despite not playing for the Roosters based on the fact he was in line for a round three return pre break. He’ll captain the side looking for a third straight series win.

– Payne Hass returns to the side after being dropped after one game last year. He starts on the bench due to his age and lack of experience allowing Vaughan and Klemmer to control the middle early on.

– Murray and Graham edge out Dale Finucane and Daniel Saifiti. Jake Trbojevic can play prop if required as can Frizell. Graham adds something that QLD simply doesn’t have in terms of his ball playing

– Kotoni Staggs is named to debut in 17 as the utility player. I’m not 100% sold on this selection however recent history has shown Origin sides like to pick utilities and Staggs has started the season on fire. He and Wighton may change late on with Staggs filling in at centre however I’d stick with this side.

BRISBANE, AUSTRALIA – JUNE 05: James Tedesco of the Blues makes a break during game one of the 2019 State of Origin series between the Queensland Maroons and the New South Wales Blues at Suncorp Stadium on June 05, 2019 in Brisbane, Australia. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

QUEENSLAND

1. Kalyn Ponga
2. Valentine Holmes
3. Moses Mbye
4. Cameron Munster
5. Corey Oates
6. Anthony Milford
7. Daly Cherry-Evans
8. Dylan Napa
9. Ben Hunt
10. Josh Papalii
11. Felise Kaufusi
12. Ethan Lowe
13. Josh McGuire

14. Thomas Flegler
15. Patrick Carrigan
16. Jai Arrow
17. Coen Hess

Breakdown

– Michael Morgan misses out through injury as does David Fifita. If fit they come straight into the squad.

– Ponga edges Holmes for the fullback slot allowing Val to return to the wing, his most dangerous position.

– Munster is forced out of position due to a lack of centre options screaming the house down. Mbye returns after a brilliant debut last season. I’d like to have Mbye on the bench, however a centre option needs to stand forward.

– Napa returns to add some experience and aggression to the Queensland middle.

– Coen Hess returns to the side having started the season in wrecking ball form.

– Broncos youngsters Flegler and Carrigan (due to Fifita’s injury) are named to debut. Welch and Glasby make way. Ofahengaue’s issues have lead to him losing his spot also.

– Milford makes a return to the Origin arena due to his form. Corey Norman was decent last year but the Maroons need Milford to finally realise his promise in the rep game.

– Ethan Lowe returns after a huge game three last year.

– Ben Hunt retains his number nine jersey. He was brilliant in last year’s series and is picked ahead of Jake Friend who is named 18th man.

– Jai Arrow is a huge in after missing last year. He may be named in the run on squad in a straight swap for Napa on game day. He can play 80 minutes in the middle allowing the bench rotation to focus on impact.

Verdict

New South Wales enter the series as the betting favourites. They’re able to name a largely unchanged lineup from last year’s victory, however do have two brand new halves.

QLD are forced to name a makeshift centre pairing and themselves struggle to settle on a halves combination.

Both sides are missing players due to injury, however QLD are missing Fifita and Morgan, two of their main strike weapons.

Both sides look very strong despite the break in play, those players missing and all other factors.

That said, the Blues look in the best position to win game one based purely on the two above sides.