24/05/2024

Queensland Maroons and New South Wales head to head . Image: NRL.com

With selection for State of Origin looming, The Inner Sanctum made their picks for both New South Wales and Queensland teams head of Game 1

At the conclusion of round eleven, Paul Green and Brad Fittler will be making their selections for their respective sides.

Fans and media have been in a frenzy the past few weeks as injuries and suspensions have been tarnishing some of the “sure thing” selections for this year’s series.

With many slots up in the air, the team at The Inner Sanctum Rugby League team has had a crack and their say on who they would select for both New South Wales and Queensland.

Queensland Maroons – Selector: Miah Shannon

1. AJ Brimson
2. Xavier Coates
3. Dane Gagai
4. Valentine Holmes
5. Kyle Feldt
6. Kalyn Ponga
7. Daly Cherry-Evans
8. Christian Welch
9. Reed Mahoney
10. Moeaki Fotuaika
11. Felise Kaufusi
12. David Fifita
13. Tino Fa’asuamaleaui
14. Ben Hunt
15. Kurt Capewell
16. Jaydn Su’A
17. Jai Arrow

With Cameron Munster and Harry Grant looking unlikely for game one, Maroon’s coach Paul Green could experiment with his team and hopefully find a player or two for the future. Young fullbacks AJ Brimson and Kalyn Ponga look likely to duel it out for the number one jersey for the next ten years, but the hole left by Munster at five-eighth could provide the pair a chance to show they can co-exist in the same team.

Backfield scoring power won’t be a problem for this team with known try scorers in positions one through six. Eels hooker Reed Mahoney gets the nod to fill the hotly debated number nine jersey, while Ben Hunt will provide playmaking cover and Kurt Capewell has become Queensland’s Mr. Fix-It with his ability to play at centre and as a forward.

New South Wales Blues – Selector: Victoria Garry

1. James Tedesco
2. Brian To’o
3. Matt Burton
4. Tom Trbojevic
5. Josh Addo-Carr
6. Jarome Luai
7. Nathan Cleary
8. Payne Haas
9. Apisai Koroisau
10. Junior Paulo
11. Isaah Yeo
12. Liam Martin
13. Cameron Murray
14. Clinton Gutherson
15. Dale Finucane
16. Tevita Pangai Junior
17. Reagan Campbell-Gillard

The Penrith Panthers are currently undefeated and could very well continue their winning streak right into Origin. Naturally, a lot of the Blues Origin side will be made up of the first-placed team.

With an experienced backline consisting of Tedesco, Trbojevic, and Addo-Carr, the Blues have the flexibility to add debutants To’o and Burton. They are the in-form wing and centre combination and believe they can rise to the occasion on their own, while still also being able to rely on their familiar club players around them. Nathan Cleary is obviously guaranteed to take his place in the halves with the feeling he will perform strongest with his club partner and the current inform five-eighth in the competition alongside him in Jarome Luai.

The exclusion of Cook for Koroisau is potentially the most controversial selection however, Cook has been failing to fire like the South Sydney hooker we know and love this year. Koroisau, on the other hand, has been very reliable and consistent and he will have his Panthers team all around him so the familiarity of their playing styles will benefit him, and vice versa.

Clinton Gutherson made his Origin debut last year and while he definitely did not set the world on fire, playing out of position, he slotted in very comfortably when Tedesco went down in game three. Ryan Papenhuyzen would have been the perfect selection for bench utility however, given his injuries, Gutherson could prove a solid backup.

Queensland Maroons – Selector: Joshua Wells

1. Kalyn Ponga
2. Xavier Coates
3. Dane Gagai
4. Kurt Capewell
5. Valentine Holmes
6. Cameron Munster
7. Daly Cherry-Evans
8. Christian Welch
9. Reed Mahoney
10. Jai Arrow
11. David Fifita
12. Felise Kaufusi
13. Tino Fa’asuamaleaui
14. Josh Kerr
15. Moeaki Fotuaika
16. Jaydn Su’A
17. Harry Grant

Harry Grant at 17? What?! Well, he’s been in and out of the Storm side through injury so playing a bolter rake like Reed Mahoney might give new coach Paul Green some flexibility. Harry Grant is one of the game’s most dangerous impact men. The rest of the side is a mix of talent, experience, and versatility.

Queensland, when on the front foot, still has danger men so the big fellas rolling through the middle is crucial for Ponga and Munster. Daly Cherry-Evans will have an impact – he is helping drag a struggling Manly outfit up the ladder so what can he do with Origin stars with a tactical former halfback as a coach?

Queensland Maroons – Selector: Rory Denis

1. Kalyn Ponga
2. Xavier Coates
3. Dane Gagai
4. Kurt Capewell
5. Valentine Holmes
6. Cameron Munster
7. Daly Cherry-Evans
8. Christian Welch
9. Harry Grant
10. Moeaki Fotuaika
11. David Fifita
12. Felise Kaufusi
13. Tino Fa’asuamaleaui
14. Ben Hunt
15. Jai Arrow
16. Moeaki Fotuaika
17. Jaydn Su’A

Maroon’s coach Paul Green has some hard decisions to make in the selection of his side. Green will have to try something different with Cameron Munster unlikely to feature in-game one due to a foot sprain.

Kalyn Ponga and AJ Brimson are up-and-coming superstars and will be part of the Queensland side for the next decade. With Munster out and Ponga getting to be the first choice fullback, Brimson will take the five-eighth position. Daly Cherry-Evans will take the captaincy of this side once again and no doubt will lead from the front. Valentine Holmes will provide much-needed explosive power and with the ever-reliable Ben Hunt coming off the bench, this side has the strength to overpower the Blues.

New South Wales Blues – Selector: Tricia Mifsud

1. James Tedesco
2. Daniel Tupou
3. Latrell Mitchell
4. Tom Trbojevic
5. Josh Addo-Carr
6. Jack Wighton
7. Nathan Cleary
8. Payne Haas
9. Damien Cook
10. Junior Paulo
11. Tevita Pangai Junior
12. Tyson Frizell
13. Isaah Yeo
14. Clinton Gutherson
15. Dale Finucane
16. Cameron Murray
17. Reagan Campbell-Gillard

The Blues, unfortunately, won’t be able to have Angus Crichton lineup in the second row after he failed to have his suspension downgraded, giving Tevita Pangai Junior the call-up off the bench. The heated battle of who secured the fullback position goes to James Tedesco with no fight for Game 1, as Ryan Papenhuyzen continues to battle concussion symptoms.

With a rough start to the year with injuries, Blues coach Brad Fittler shouldn’t even risk a Papenhuyzen selection. It takes time to earn your Origin position and that’s why this year Jack Wighton, the reigning Dally M Medalist will finally get the five-eighth position as he has played consistent footy at the highest level.

Which teams would you like to see on June 9th?

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