The big talk is about Boyd Cordner's spot. And does Dylan Walker get another run?.
All the talk has been about what changes NSW need to make ahead of State of Origin 2. After watching Origin 1 a few times and looking at the way NSW played and the final scoreboard, what is evident is that QLD probably got out of jail and NSW were the better side on the night. I don't see why too many changes need to occur.
Most people are saying NSW need to score more points. They are saying that to win against QLD at Suncorp they need 20+. But I think the side they picked for game 1 has points in it. I also think it has 20+ points in it. Look at the QLD side, they have points all over the park and they only came up with 6 in Origin 1. So even if Daley goes with exactly the same side (except for the Cordner replacement) the side has points in it.
So here we go, let'splay armchair selector. I will match up each sides game 1 team with the changes I have made and then attempt to justify my selections.
Disclaimer: YES, there is still a whole round of NRL to go and injury and suspension can happen. However everyone involved in the game in any capacity loves to speculate on Origin teams, so lets do it.
Origin 1 Team (possible change in brackets).
2. Oates (Feldt)
10. Myles (McGuire)
15. McGuire (lillyman)
16. Guerra (Cooper)
No surprises here QLD pick and stick. The changes I have made are purely based on form. In my Origin 1 wrap I commented that Guerra's poor club form left him behind the pace of the game, Cooper has to be close. 30 Origin's for Nate Myles (particularly in the front row) have taken their toll. Players like to go on their own terms and Myles should probably be afforded that respect given the service he has provided the Maroons, but some players need a tap on the shoulder. 'Feldt in for Oates, are you CRAZY' no, that is there purely because Oates was grabbing at his shoulder in the game against Canberra and so far there is no word regarding if he has injured it. In saying all of this I suspect Walters to stick loyal and until they cop a series thumping expect the same side to run out for game 2.
9. Farah (Peats)
11. Cordner (Graham)
Tamou in the run on side, purely because that is how they started in game 1. Daley will probably start with Bird in game 2, but that is how they lined up.
For Cordner's spot I have gone with Graham, for a few reasons. Firstly Graham already plays left edge. Rather than trying Frizell on the left. Or shifting Bird to the left and playing Frizell in 13 up the middle, I think Daley would want as little a re-shuffle as possible. The point of difference for NSW in game 2 will be how they build on the combinations they started with in game 1. So I think a major forward pack reshuffle is not on the cards. Bring in a left edge back-rower who will slot straight in and who plays with Maloney week to week and it's less of a disruption. Secondly Graham is a brilliant ball player and has an excellent left foot kick. He is almost a second five-eighth and is a great option for NSW.
Peats for Farah. There I said it!. All the hooker talk last game was about why Ennis didn't get picked over Farah considering his form. First of all Farah is the long time NSW 9, their vice captain, Laurie Daley likes his style of play and he will be there in game 2. However if you are on the side of the fence that says Farah isn't in Origin form and is at the back end of his career, why replace him with another player who is also in his twilight years. Yes Ennis is probably in career best form. That been said that I don't think he is disciplined enough, he gives away too many penalties and can be a liability. It's his style of play fair enough. But at Origin level with the game locked up 18 all in the 78th minute and QLD in your red zone you can't be on tenterhooks scared Ennnis is going to give a way a silly penalty. If you are building a side for the future and are replacing out of form players, then build a side foe the future and bring Peats in. He is NSW best choice for the next 5 years. I think it's time.
Finally the Dylan Walker selection. This is a weird one because when the Bob Fulton conspiracy theory arose Daley was very quick to attempt to put to bed the rumors and claim that Walker was his choice. But then it all resurfaced again and was contradicted by the fact that Daley only used him for 9 minutes. Daley has said that all along Walker knew he was a replacement and may not get many minutes and that was in their game plan. But gone are the days of picking someone purely just in case your hooker goes down (especially because if Farah did go down injured, which he rarely does, Bird is an onfield utility who could fill in at 9). Yes you need a utility that can play many positions in case someone gets injured. But you also need a player that can play more than 9 minutes. The only thing that saved this from been a complete debarcle was that Morgan went of injured very early in the second half for QLD and it end up been a 16v16 man game. As much as Daley and the coaching staff don't want to admit it, they got their bench rotation wrong. In a 17 man game, your utilities need to play at least 15-20 minutes if not 30. I fully expect Walker to be picked again, because a) a rotation error in coaching shouldn't cost you your spot, it's not Walkers fault and b) If he picks Walker again it is a loud announcement that Walker is his choice and it puts the debate to rest. If Walker gets selected again and QLD win he will almost have to best on ground to keep his jumper... time will tell.
When the sides are in camp and closer to the game on the 22nd I will bring you my preview.
Bring on Origin II!.