The 2016 NRL State of Origin series is closing in on us and the match can arguably be won or lost on who is selected to line up on the biggest stage in Rugby League. We here at Before You Bet have taken into account the reliability of players in past series, their performances this season and injuries to key players and chosen our team for game 1 for both New South Wales and Queensland.
New South Wales
1. Matt Moylan
The Panthers fullback is one of the most creative players in the game and it is a massive benefit for a side to have a player with his skill and ability to relieve pressure off the halves. James Tedesco would have been our first choice but an injury has made him unavailable.
2. Josh Mansour
Mansour has tasted representative duties for City and has even played four matches for Australia but he has never played for his state. The nuggety winger hasn’t had the best production this season but that is largely due to playing outside the run first centre Peta hiku. Mansour would help put NSW on the front foot with his charging runs.
3. Michael Jennings
Jennings has been a part of the NSW squad for many years now and has 15 appearances to his name. He always seems to play his best football for his state and he is an automatic selection at left centre.
4. Josh Morris
This position will almost definitely be given to Josh Dugan but we believe Morris should be the centre chosen as he has shown his dedication for the Blues. Last year he was on the ground with a serious leg injury that kept him out for six weeks but as he laid there in pain Inglis made a break and Morris hopped off the ground and made the important tackle that not many others would make.
5. Blake Fergurson
Fergurson has his first taste of Origin back in 2013 and had a solid performance but his off field issues saw him miss a lot of game time over the next couple of years. He returned to representative duties earlier this year for the Kangaroos and he scored a try in the victory.
6. James Maloney
The Sharks five-eighth has experience at Origin level and has tasted premiership success. He knows what it takes to win and has been in great form for the Sharks this season.
7. Chad Townsend
With Mitchell Pearce announcing he doesn’t have the mindset for Origin with his off field issues, we believe Townsend is the next best player to pick in the halfback position. It is the most scrutinised area of the New South Wales squad and although Townsend hasn’t tasted finals football and only played his first representative match two weeks ago, his combination with Maloney this season has seen the Sharks reach new heights. It would be a gamble to pick him but if the Blues had success we could have a halfback for close to the next decade.
8. Aaron Woods
Woods was criticised after his first series playing for New South Wales but he has taken his game to another level over the last two years. The Tigers captain is another automatic selection.
9. Robbie Farah
Farah may be on the outer at the Tigers but Laurie Daley still considers him as his best option in this position. It is hard to go against that idea as the hooker has had some monster games for the Blues with multiple games with over 60 tackles.
10. Paul Gallen
The New South Wales captain has the ability to play 80-minutes in the front row and has played 21 matches for his state. Always plays with his heart on his sleeve and will lead from the front.
11. Josh Jackson
Jackson had his first taste of Origin last year and had solid performances. He is a great defender and is a tough player.
12. Bryce Cartwright
This will be a bit of a gamble for the Blues, as the Maroons will target Cartwright in defence. However, Cartwright has a lot to offer with the ball in his hand as he is capable of running it himself, picking the right pass, producing an offload or dropping the ball onto his toe. He gives the side much needed x-factor.
13. Greg Bird
Bird missed last year’s series due to suspension but he is one of the best Origin players. His style is perfect for this type of game as he is a hard hitter and doesn’t take a backwards step. Bird has experience at the five-eighth position and offers extra in attack.
14. Trent Merrin
Merrin is a proven workhorse and has been one of the Panthers most consistent players this season. He is a perfect back up for either the front or back row.
15. David Klemmer
Klemmer is one of the meanest players on the field. He showed he is made for Origin in last year’s game 2 but he will need to bring those performances in every match as he was a passenger in the game 3 humiliation.
16. James Tamou
A main contributor to the success of the defending premiers the Cowboys and has been an automatic selection for New South Wales for multiple years.
17. Luke Lewis
Lewis wasn’t selected last season but he has played 17 matches for his state. He brings a lot of impact off the bench and the side could use his experience and he also acts as a utility as he can cover multiple positions.
1. Darius Boyd
The Australian fullback will be picked again to wear the number 1 jersey to allow Greg Inglis to play in the centres whilst Billy Slater remains out with his season ending shoulder injury.
2. Corey Oates
The Broncos winger has been able to gain a lot of success as he has developed a good combination with his five-eighth Anthony Milford and benefited from his playmaking ability. He has also shown he has a great ability to find the try line and will be a strong returner with the football.
3. Greg Inglis
He was the best centre in the world before his switch to fullback and he showed glimpses of that form against the Eels last week when he was moved to the position for the final 20-minutes. He is incredibly hard to defend against and often attracts a lot of defenders to bring him down.
4. Justin O’Neill
The injury to Will Chambers has opened the doors for the 25-year-old to make his Origin debut. The cowboys centre has been strong and is a big contributor to the success of the side.
5. Kyle Feldt
The injury to slater frees up a position on the wing and whilst last year it was taken by Dane Gagai it would be more beneficial for the side to include Feldt in the team as he plays along side O’Neill at club level and is a great player in his own right.
6. Johnathan Thurston
This selection speaks for itself, he is one of the best players to ever grace the field and he will play his 34th Origin match in game 1.
7. Cooper Cronk
The same as Thurston, an obvious choice as Queensland have been blessed with outstanding halves for the past decade that are automatic selections.
8. Matt Scott
The Australian front rower who is another automatic selection, you know exactly what you will get out of Scott as he is one of the most consistent players in the game.
9. Cameron Smith
Another automatic selection that Queensland has been blessed with. He is the Australian, Queensland and Storm captain and will tackle his heart out whilst steering his team around the field perfectly.
10. Nate Myles
Whilst Myles hasn’t been at his best for the Sea Eagles this season, he is a former player of the series and has played 29 Origin matches. The team will utilise his experience and toughness in defence.
11. Matt Gillett
The up and coming back rower is now becoming experienced at playing at this level and is a consistent player for the Broncos every week.
12. Gavin Cooper
Cooper has never been selected for Origin but this could be his year. The 30-year-old has had a lethal combination with Thurston for the Cowboys for the past four seasons and we expect that to be taken into the Origin arena this season.
13. Corey Parker
The Australian lock has reinvented his game over the past two seasons. A lot of people were beginning to say he was too old but his ability offload the ball can be a lethal weapon for QLD.
14. Michael Morgan
The Cowboys five-eighth has improved his game drastically over the last two seasons and was rewarded with selection into the Australian squad two weeks ago. He will bring a lot of impact off the bench if the Maroons are flat.
15. Josh McGuire
McGuire made his debut for Origin last year and played in the opening two games before an ACL injury cut his season short. He is one of the best upcoming forwards in the game and will be selected for the Maroons for many years to come.
16. Sam Thaiday
Thaiday has played 25 matches for the Maroons and he will be picked for his experience and he will deliver as he always does.
17. Josh Papalii
Papalii is another Australian representative who has been a constant bench player for the Maroons for the last few years and he will bring a lot of size and toughness off the bench.
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Take note: Any of the tips in this article are simply the author’s opinion, so bet at your own risk and always gamble responsibly. Also be sure to check out the Before You Bet Twitter Page for all our thoughts in the lead up to bets! Happy punting!
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