For the past eight years NSW have suffered consecutive defeats at the hands of Queensland. This year NSW will try to stop the Maroons from winning their ninth State of Origin series win.
While Queensland have penciled in about 90 per cent of their team, NSW are in all sorts of trouble.
Greg Bird is set to miss the opening Origin match and Mitchell Pierce had some off-field problems over the weekend.
While NSW are still yet to determine a number of key positions, they have a lot of options for young players ready to prove themselves in the Origin arena.
David Mead was a surprise call up for country and if injuries occur to Josh Dugan and Jarryd Hayne, Mead could find himself in the number one jersey for NSW. He is surely going to be on selectors’ minds in the near future.
James Tedesco has been unfortunate to not play as much as he has wanted in the past couple of years due to season-ending injuries. Before his injury this year Tedesco was proving a hand full for many teams and was forming a great partnership with Luke Brooks. There’s a certain NSW jumper in the future for young Tedesco.
Matt Moylan has been sensational for the Panthers this year. Molyan’s form has earned himself a City jersey and from the rep round we have seen Moylan really putting a stamp on the game. He is truly an Origin worthy player.
Even though his form has been down on lately, Kevin Gordon earned himself a Country jersey. He has a very friendly rivalry happening between ex-winger, and now fullback, David Mead. Gordon’s a very speedy player and is a great finisher when scoring tries. A bit of work in defence and somewhere down the track he could be putting on the sky blue jersey.
Jorge Taufua and Daniel Tupo have been great this year for their respective clubs. Both have earned representative call ups and have been on the Origin radar for a while now. They have great power, have a lot of speed to burn and are excellent finishers when it comes to try scoring. These two wingers will make memories that are unforgettable in the future during Origin time.
Jack Wighton has been one of the game’s best defensive centres this year. He showed what he can do when being called up into a representative jumper and he took the chance with both hands in the City versus Country game. Playing five-eighth at the Raiders is only going to improve his passing and kicking game. When called up into Origin, he will be remembered as one of the most classiest centres.
Jamal Idris has played only one game for NSW but you can tell that he is hungry for another call up. This year he as shown similar form from his younger days at the Bulldogs. Bench, centre or second row, Idris will take the opportunity with both hands and show why he belongs there. His power and strength, mixed with hiss attacking and defensive plays, for the Panthers and Country have shown why he is on the Origin radar.
Josh Reynolds has had a superb start to the season. Since being moved from bench to hooker to five-eighth he has made the spot his own. His grubby get-in-your-face style of playing is what NSW needs for this position. The last five-eighth that played like this was Greg Bird and NSW won the series. If chosen this year for five-eighth, Reynolds will show why he should stay in the position for years to come.
Aiden Sezar is a player that plays beyond his years. Similar to Johnathan Thurston, Sezar has a cool head and plays with class. Sezar is also excellent with the boot, kicking many 40/20s and an 83 per cent conversion rate. If Sezar is called up to the NSW side, he will bring class to the five-eighth role, something that has been missing since Andrew Johns and Brad Fittler.
Jarrod Mullen has an excellent boot on him too. He had a crack early in his career at Origin and wants another one this year. His form is always on and off but has been very switched on as of late. Maybe no Origin this year for Mullen but the future looks bright for him.
Albert kelly is a cousin to Queensland great Greg Inglis. No wonder Kelly is a freak in the field then. Since being thrown a lifeline by the Titans, Kelly has shown why Inglis had rated him so highly. Kelly has plucked intercepts all over the field, chip-and-chased over fullbacks and poses a great tactical kicking game. He is not ready for Origin yet but some more defensive practice and a few more years at the Titans, and the Blues could be calling Kelly up for some attacking power in their team.
Luke Brooks is way ahead of Kelly, however. Some people are even calling for Brooks to make his State of Origin debut this year. Brooks still needs to work on his game, but he has shown glimpses of brilliance for the Tigers this year. When he is ready Brooks will be holding onto the NSW number seven jersey for many years.
Andrew Fifita in undeniably one of the game’s greatest props. He is the quickest prop that has played NRL and is so valuable to NSW making metres up the front and getting up in the faces of the Queensland defensive line. Fafita has been in NSW for a while now and no player will force him out of the side, there is just no questioning his abilities on the field.
James Tamou and Aaron Woods have both been outstanding for their clubs. Both players have made over 1000 metres in nine games so far. At 23 and 25 years of age, respectively, they are two players who will be there for many years to come. With that much power and strength they are able to gain so many valuable metres for NSW. They could be the reason NSW wins a series in the future.
Paul Carter has shown the type of aggression that has people referring to him as a young Greg Bird. Coming off the bench, he poses a great threat to oppositions with a great running game out of dummy half. He is small but willing to get up in the face of his opponent and that is something NSW will need in the future.
However, Nathan Peats would be in front of him in the running to take over when Robbie Farah retires. Peats has been a great buy for the Eels this year. His performances in the first couple of rounds immediately grabbed the attention of the NSW selectors. With a great passing and kicking game, while being a very smart hooker, Peats is the perfect candidate to take over Robbie Farah.
Josh Jackson may be playing for the Blues this year. In the short amount of time he has been at the Bulldogs he has really grabbed the NSW selectors’ attention. With barnstorming runs up the middle and edges of the field, it allows his halves to play. Jackson is a type of player who will put his hand up in the dying seconds of a game to slide in defence and work hard until the end.
Boyd Cordner has played for a premiership-winning side, won the World Cup for the Aussies, won an Anzac Test match and also starred in the NSW side last year. Cordner is one player who has already proven his worth and will remain in the team for years to come.
Tony Williams is one man that needs to regain his form. He has been quiet ever since moving to the Bulldogs, but if he finds form again he will be a menace. He has a big one-armed fend and is very quick and dangerous. Williams runs holes excellently. In his days at Manly he was very dangerous, and maybe a possible move back to the wing would be best. He has similar attributes as Luke Lewis in that he can play in numerous positions and has a wide set of skills. If Williams finds form he will definitely bring impact to the NSW side
Wade Graham is also on the verge of a NSW jersey, with the majority of his games for the Sharks playing off the bench or filling in at five-eighth or lock for Paul Gallen. Graham is a work horse and he is a mobile second rower/lock that NSW love to see on their team. Graham seems like the perfect candidate to take over Greg Bird’s position.
These players are just some of the players who have been on my radar for the future NSW side. I have missed a lot of valuable players but I have picked those that are in better form.
– by Mitch Moore