What ever happened to the best player for the job? I thought representative honours were supposed to go to the player in a given position who was in the best form.
With State of Origin 2 selection just around the corner the debate rages about who should line up. The debate is mostly coming from south of the border and the major argument at the moment seems to be Tedesco v Moylan in the custodian spot for the Blues.
On NRL 360 (www.foxsports.com.au) last week Daley mentioned that of fit Moylan would be in the side. Back that up with a story on NRL.com today where Mitchell Moses was quoted as saying, "If they don't pick him (Tedesco), they're kidding themselves"(NRL.com). This Mirrors the sentiment of West Tigers coach Jason Taylor stating Tedesco was the best NSW fullback in the NRL.
In addition there is the Graham story. This isn't even a story about form. zero tackle.com reported overnight that there may be some doubt about Graham's selection because of a drinking incident. And not a drinking incident where Graham was inebriated or broke curfew. Merely that he drank with a senior group of players and administrators that was apparently a NSW faux pas?. (link to the story below).
QLD, not out of the woods either. In fact they are probably more guilty than NSW when it comes to picking on incumbency instead of form. Over the past decade they have gone with a blatant stick and pick policy. And there are a few players (and there's some shocks below so read on!), that on form should't be there.
So I ask you? Forget combinations, forget loyalty and incumbency. What if both sides were picked purely on form, who would be in and who would be out?. After all isn't that what rep. football is about?.
Let's look at the players in each side who are there playing out of form? Or who aren't the best player in their position at the moment.
Moylan - Replaced by Tedesco. Without a doubt Moylan is a class player and an excellent fullback. Is he the best NSW fullback?. No. Quite simply put Tedesco has his measure. Tedesco is bigger and faster. Tedesco is better under the high ball. The only edge Moylan may have over Tedesco is his passing game. But not enough to knock him out. Finally, it is well known Tedesco would have been NSW #1 in game 1. So now he is fit (and by the way blitzed the Rabbitohs in round 14), should't he be the NSW fullback?.
Farah - Replaced by Ennis. Farah the long serving incumbent and has been very good for a very long time. Has a great running game and kicks well out of dummy half. Is he the best rake in NSW at the moment?. No. Ennis is, no doubt about it. If you are looking to build a side for the future you may consider Peats. But for now this is about form. And Ennis is the best hooker in NSW at the moment.
Gallen - Replaced by Fifita. Calm down blues supporters I'm not replacing your captain. Or going as outrageous as a Peter Stirling 'drop him all together' argument. Considering Gallen is one of the best forwards of the modern era and was NSW best forward in game 1. Im just suggesting Gallen goes back to 13 (where he is best) and Fifita starts. Push Bird into the back row in Cordners spot and you free up a bench spot, for a Frizell or Graham.
Cordner (injured) - Replaced by (Graham on the Bench). See my reshuffle above. Although Frizell was in the development squad in both 2015 and 2016, Graham has his measure on skill alone. A ball playing back rower who will be all the more important come a more attacking game at Suncorp.
Walker - Replaced by Peachey or Cartwright. (you decide?). Whether you believe the conspiracy theory or not. Not only is Walker not the best utility player in NSW he isn't even a utility player. He is centre/five eighth, who granted yes, is a good player but is he a utility that can fill in anywhere like a Peachey or a Cartwright. No. There are light years between both of these players and Walker. I personally have Peachey just because I don't think Cartwright is ready for Origin quite yet.
Inglis - (There it is. I said it. 'No GI? Ar you crazy') Replaced by Gagai/Feldt. A tough one but if you go on form, as brutal as it is Inglis does't make the cut. Out of form this year for the Rabbitohs Inglis looked lost at sea in Round 14 against the the Tigers. He dropped balls, had no sting in attack and was burnt a couple of times in defence. Either you leave Gagai on the Wing and bring Feldt in a spot or switch them up. For those people saying Feldt dropped 3 bombs against the Broncos a couple weeks back, have you seen him since? No handling errors as strong as ever and damaging in attack.
Myles - Replace by Lillyman/Wallace. The dance is over at rep level for Myles. I hate to think it as much as the next cane toad, and even though he doesn't miss many tackles and still takes some hard runs. I have said before it's just time for Myles to hang it up at Origin level. Even if he makes the side McGuire definitely needs to be run on. I hope to be the first person to have to apologise for this I really do. And if he has a cracking game 2 then, yes I will publicly apologise. But for now Lillyman gets his spot. And I have said it in a previous article that if QLD weren't so hasty with their curfew suspensions they may not only have a bit more depth out wide, but maybe we would finally see Napa in a maroon jumper.
Guerra - Replaced by Gavin Cooper. Not only is Guerra out of form, put simply Cooper is just a better Rugby League player. They are probably equal in ball playing ability, however Cooper has Guerra pegged in his running game. He runs better lines in attack (either as a decoy or the recipient of a Thurston short ball). And Guerra has this weird running style of backing into a defense and running backwards. I assume it comes from him looking for offloads. But it is just a weird way to attack. Granted he 'reversed' in for a try for QLD in game 3 2014. All said Cooper's QLD debut is overdue.
So there it is. These are the out of form players who will likely be picked in Origin 2. If you were a selector what would you do? Pick on form or incumbency?. Who makes your side?.