Right in the Hunt for a Qld jumper
HE wants it, he's got it.
Karmichael Hunt said last week if the AFL was to breathe new life into its long extinct State of Origin series he would "do everything in his power to get a game".
We can't promise him a match - despite the players voicing their desire to see representative footy (other than International Rules) back on the agenda. With too many scheduling issues and too many club coaches opposed to it, the AFL is unlikely to re-introduce heavyweights Victoria, WA and SA onto the scene, let alone minnows Queensland and New South Wales.
But, we can give Hunt the next best thing - a Maroons 'jumper' to go with the 10 Maroons 'jerseys' he was awarded as a rugby league player.
Actually, we can't give him that either, but everyone's favourite code-hopper has at least made our hypothetical Queensland AFL Origin line-up. And he's picked to start in the guts too, which says two things - one, just how far the man has improved with the Gold Coast, and, two, how bereft the Sunshine State is of elite midfielders.
That's not to say the side is lacking star quality though. It wouldn't have the class to match the Big V or the Sandgropers, but taking on NSW would make for an interesting clash - possibly even an exciting shootout, such is the potential firepower of both.
Leading the Maroons' attack are Gold Coast products - Nick Riewoldt, Kurt Tippett and David Hale, who just gets nod ahead of Shaun Hampson as third tall and back-up to No.1 ruck Zac Smith. Like Riewoldt, Hale was born in Tasmania but moved with his family to Queensland at a young age, while Tippett did likewise from Sydney. At the other end, brutes Taylor Walker and Tom Hawkins present an ominous two-pronged attack for the Blues, with support from a resurgent Justin Koschitzke, who can also give Hamish Macintosh a chop-out in the ruck.
The league's two leading goalkickers, Walker arrived in the AFL as an unheralded NSW scholarship holder from Broken Hill, Hawkins a high-profile father-son selection, raised in Finley, but schooled at Melbourne Grammar. Kosi and McIntosh hail from that rich breeding ground along the Murray River near Albury.
The respective forward lines would almost rival that of Victoria (Cloke/Brown/Podsiadly) or WA (Franklin/Clark/Kennedy), and NSW's circa 1990, featuring a couple of young Kangaroos in John Longmire and Wayne Carey who led their side to an upset win over a second-string Victorian outfit.
While Dayne Beams and Michael Osborne would be crumbing at the feet of the big men in the Maroons' attack, Luke Breust, Ben McGlynn and Adam Schneider would do a similar job for the Blues. Breust is an interesting one, his cousin being Australian rugby league rep Trent Barrett.
Hunt, who was born in New Zealand but moved to Brisbane at the age of 10, would be joined in the Maroons' middle by good honest footballers in David Armitage and Courtenay Dempsey, who grew up in Mackay and Cairns respectively, but like a lot Queenslanders, such as big Smith from Rocky, shifted south of the state to further their careers in the QAFL.
The Blues don't have the overall depth of the Maroons, and would struggle to get a full side on the park if they had a few injuries. But they do have an exceptional on-ball brigade led by genuine stars including Pennant Hills products Lenny Hayes and Jarrad McVeigh and Albury's Daniel Cross, backed up by Kieren Jack, the son of ex-Balmain Tiger Garry Jack, and Isaac Smith, from Cootamundra via North Ballarat.
For the record, NSW beat Queensland (141-48) in their only Origin clash in front of 7000 fans at the SCG in 1992.
B: Jarrod Harbrow (Cairns), Dan Merrett (Gold Coast), Lachlan Keeffe (Gympie).
HB: Rohan Bail (Brisbane), Sam Gilbert (Gold Coast), Josh Drummond (Sunshine Coast).
C: Brendan Whitecross (Brisbane), Karmichael Hunt (Brisbane), Courtenay Dempsey (Cairns).
HF: Michael Osborne (Gold Coast), Nick Riewoldt (Gold Coast) (C), Ricky Petterd (Gold Coast).
F: David Hale (Gold Coast), Kurt Tippett (Gold Coast), Dayne Beams (Gold Coast).
Foll: Zac Smith (Rockhampton), Andrew Raines (Gold Coast), David Armitage (Mackay).
Int (from): Shaun Hampson (Brisbane), Brad Miller (Brisbane), Joel McDonald (Brisbane), Ben Warren (Brisbane), Josh Thomas (Gold Coast), Claye Beams (Gold Coast), Sam Reid (Sunshine Coast), Peter Yagmoor (Cairns).
NEW SOUTH WALES
B: Dylan Addison (Sydney), Lewis Roberts-Thompson (Sydney), Matt Suckling (Wagga Wagga).
HB: Kieran Jack (Sydney), Brent Staker (Broken Hill), Mark McVeigh (Sydney)
C: Craig Bird (Nelson Bay), Daniel Cross (Albury), Isaac Smith (Cootamundra).
HF: Adam Schneider (Leeton), Taylor Walker (Broken Hill), Luke Breust (Temora).
F: Justin Koschitzke (Brocklesby), Tom Hawkins (Finley), Ben McGlynn (Wentworth).
Foll: Hamish McIntosh (Lavington), Lenny Hayes (Sydney) (C), Jarrad McVeigh (Sydney).
Int (from): Orren Stephensen (Wagga), Tony Armstrong (Burrumbuttock), Kurt Aylett (Leeton), Mark Whiley (Finley), Sam Schulz (Culcairn), Anthony Miles (Albury), Tom Young (Sydney)
COLLINGWOOD 3.6 7.9 10.11 14.12 (96)
Goals: Pendlebury 4; Fasolo 3; Goldsack, Cloke 2; Swan, Blair, Dawes.
Best: Pendlebury, Sidebottom, Wellingham, Shaw, Goldsack, Beams.
GEELONG 2.4 6.6 7.12 11.18 (84)
Goals: Podsiadly, Duncan, Hawkins, Stokes 2; Motlop, Chapman, Stokes.
Best: Selwood, Johnson, Taylor, Kelly, Enright, Bartel.
Crowd: 75,650 at the MCG on Friday night.
PORT ADELAIDE 5.1 6.2 8.6 14.11 (95)
Goals: Schulz 7; Cornes, Brett Ebert, Broadbent, Jacobs, McCarthy, Stewart, Westhoff.
Best: Pearce, Schulz, McCarthy, Brad Ebert, Renouf, Pfeiffer.
NORTH MELBOURNE 4.1 7.5 11.9 14.9 (93)
Goals: Petrie 5; Wells, Thomas 2; Swallow, Warren, Ziebell, Harvey, Pedersen.
Best: Swallow, Wells, Petrie, Ziebell, Goldstein, Warren.
Crowd: 14,508 at AAMI Stadium on Saturday.
HAWTHORN 2.4 10.9 13.12 17.17 (119)
Goals: Roughead 4; Suckling, Rioli, Breust 2; Young, Guerra, Franklin, Hale, Lewis, Mitchell, Smith.
Best: Roughead, Sewell, Rioli, Young, Mitchell, Lewis.
FREMANTLE 0.3 2.6 7.8 9.9 (63)
Goals: Ballantyne 2; Barlow, Neale, Crowley, Clarke, Johnson, Mayne, Dawson.
Best: Barlow, Crowley, Sandilands, Mzungu, Hill.
Crowd: 12, 959 at Aurora Stadium on Saturday.
SYDNEY SWANS 7.1 11.4 16.9 21.12 (138)
Goals: Kennedy, Jack, Parker, Jetta 3; Dennis-Lane, Walsh, McGlynn 2; O'Keefe, Reid, Mattner.
Best: Jack, Jetta, Parker, O'Keefe, Mattner, Grundy, Walsh.
MELBOURNE 0.3 1.5 2.7 5.7 ( 37)
Goals: Jones 2; Bennell, Sylvia, Green.
Best: Watts, Jones, Howe.
Crowd: 20,818 at SCG on Saturday.
WESTERN BULLDOGS 1.3 2.6 6.12 9.18 (72)
Goals: Liberatore, Jones, Giansiracusa, Dahlhaus, Cordy, Grant, Higgins, Picken, Skinner.
Best: Lake, Griffen, Boyd, Cross, Wallis, Liberatore, Picken.
GOLD COAST 1.5 2.9 3.10 4.10 (34)
Goals: Lynch, Bennell, Prestia, Smith.
Best: Stanley, Ablett, Caddy, Horsley, Iles, Shaw, Prestia.
Crowd: 8724 at TIO Stadium on Saturday.
ESSENDON 6.2 12.7 16.9 19.14 (128)
Goals: Ryder 4; Stanton, Monfries 3; Watson, Jetta, Davey 2; Crameri, Howlett, Lovett-Murray.
Best: Watson, Stanton, Crameri, Ryder, Jetta, Bellchambers, Heppell, Zaharakis.
RICHMOND 4.2 6.8 11.16 15.19 (109)
Goals: Cotchin, Edwards 3; Grigg, Martin 2; Deledio, Jackson, Miller, Nahas, Riewoldt.
Best: Deledio, Cotchin, Grigg, Foley, Maric, Tuck, Jackson.
Crowd: 80,900 at the MCG on Saturday