Who will lift the Origin shield this year?
Who will lift the Origin shield this year? DAVE HUNT

Just who will the Maroons and Blues pick for Origin?

WITH State of Origin teams to be announced in two short weeks, I thought I would throw on my selector's cap and name my Queensland and New South Wales teams.

One thing that has become clear to me is Queensland look to have the stronger backline, but NSW has the better forward pack - time will tell what matters most in the Origin arena.

Queensland will need to move on from the retirements of Cooper Cronk, Johnathan Thurston and Cameron Smith very quickly if they are to be successful in 2018, but injuries to key forwards Matt Gillett and Josh McGuire won't help.

NSW have their fair share of injury concerns as well, with Mitch Pearce, Wade Graham, Jordan McLean and Jack de Belin all injured.

Qld:

Billy Slater

Darius Boyd

 

Greg Inglis should get the Queensland captaincy after Cameron Smith's retirement.
Greg Inglis should get the Queensland captaincy after Cameron Smith's retirement. Brett Costello

Greg Inglis (Captain)

Will Chambers

Dane Gagai

Cameron Munster

Michael Morgan

 

Michael Morgan should play for Queensland in this year's Origin series.
Michael Morgan should play for Queensland in this year's Origin series. Mark Metcalfe

Matt Scott

 

Matt Scott should be back after injury last season.
Matt Scott should be back after injury last season. Mark Metcalfe

Ben Hunt

Dylan Napa

Gavin Cooper

Dylan Napa and James Tedesco should be on opposite teams in Origin.
Dylan Napa and James Tedesco should be on opposite teams in Origin. Philip Hillyard

Felise Kaufusi

Jai Arrow

Kalyn Ponga

Josh Papalii

Jarrod Wallace

Coen Hess

This team is a bit light on up front, so Cooper and Kaufusi may need to play the 80 minutes, leaving Scott, Napa, Wallace, Hess, Arrow and Papalii to play through the middle against what is sure to be a very powerful NSW forward pack.

The backline is full of strike power, with Corey Oates and Valentine Holmes unlucky to miss out.

Hunt at hooker is questionable, but his creativity, potential goal kicking and Origin experience could prove vital. Andrew McCullough and Jake Friend can consider themselves unlucky.

Ponga on the bench is a risk, but his footwork and amazing form at club level mean he can not be left out.

NSW:

James Tedesco

Josh Addo-Carr

Euan Aitken

Latrell Mitchell

Tom Trbojevic

James Maloney

 

James Maloney caused problems for the Maroons last year.
James Maloney caused problems for the Maroons last year. DARREN PATEMAN

Nathan Cleary

David Klemmer

Cameron McInnes

Reagan Campbell-Gillard

Boyd Cordner (Captain)

Josh Jackson

Jake Trbojevic

 

Jake Trbojevic could be joined by his brother Tom in the Blues team.
Jake Trbojevic could be joined by his brother Tom in the Blues team. Matt King

 

 

Tyrone Peachey

Tyson Frizell

Paul Vaughan

Tariq Sims

Forward power is the hallmark of this team when you consider Aaron Woods, Jordan McLean, Wade Graham, Jack de Belin and Shannon Boyd all miss out because of injury or the simple fact there isn't room for them.

In the backline, Blake Ferguson is unlucky as is Adam Reynolds.

Inexperience is the big question mark on the team.

Ten of the 17 have not played State of Origin before - Sims, Vaughan, Peachey, Campbell-Gillard, McInnes, Cleary, Tom Trbojevic, Mitchell, Aitken and Ado-Carr - but all are in good form and warrant selection.

The bench utility spot is the most contentious with Damien Cook the most unlucky to miss out.

An in-form Jack Bird would walk into the spot, but his performances have not been up to scratch.

Peachey can cover multiple positions and his speed around the ruck at the end of halves, playing behind what is likely to be a dominant forward pack, could prove a match winner.



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