The Clutch Plays: Rep Round

0 Submitted by on Wed, 11 May 2016, 01:42

Admittedly, I’ve been one of the harshest critics of Rep round – it breaks the momentum of the NRL competition just as it’s hotting up, players take unnecessary risk of getting injured for meaningless games and City v Country has, historically, absolutely no bearing on origin selection. Despite the above criticisms, I actually enjoyed rep round. In particular, the PNG v Fiji and the Samoa v Tonga games exuded passion and entertaining footy as did the Women and the Junior games. Ironically, the most boring game of the lot was the ANZAC Test between the Kangaroos and Kiwis, but I’ll let Gus and Mal fight that one out.

On to more pertinent matters, the State of Origin is fast approaching, which of course, brings out the selector in all of us. I’ve decided to fire the first shot and name my NSW team as at this very moment. Of course, this team will change over the course of the next few weeks as injuries, suspensions and form start to play a more vital role.

Did Rep Round answer any questions? It may have solved the halves puzzle. I’ve assumed James Tedesco is unavailable due to injuries (he would’ve been a certainty for the fullback position). Likewise, I’m assuming Mitchell Pearce is unavailable due to well documented personal reasons. Note this is the team I would choose, not necessarily the team Laurie Daley will select. I haven’t chosen the QLD team because (1) I don’t really care and (2) they pretty much choose themselves. Without further ado, here’s my 17 that will turn the tide of QLD dominance and take an important step towards returning the trophy to its rightful home.

Fullback                           Matt Moylan

Wing (right)                    Blake Ferguson

Centre (right)                  Josh Morris

Centre (left)                     Michael Jennings

Wing (left)                       Josh Dugan

Five eighth                       James Maloney

Halfback                           Aidan Sezer

Lock                                    Paul Gallen ( C )

2nd Row (right)                  Beau Scott

2nd Row (left)                     Boyd Cordner

Prop                                   Aaron Woods

Hooker                               Nathan Peats

Prop                                   James Tamou

Reserve                              Greg Bird

Reserve                              David Klemmer

Reserve                              Andrew Fifita

Reserve                              Bryce Cartwright


Despite Tedesco’s injury, NSW lose absolutely nothing with Matt Moylan’s inclusion. I think he will eventually follow the Darren Lockyer path and make the five eighth role his for as long as he wants. In Josh Dugan and Blake Ferguson, we have two big, strong, fast bodies who will play a vital role in getting NSW out of their red zone and they are both exceptional under the high ball. Josh Morris has to be included if, for nothing else than the fact that he owns Greg Inglis defensively. Michael Jennings simply picks himself after being named 18th man for Australia. I tossed between James Maloney and Josh Reynolds for five eighth. I went with Maloney because of his superior kicking game and current form. Aidan Sezer is my smokey. He has he perfect temperament for origin and provides a perfect foil for Maloney. His strong left boot can pin the Queenslanders in their own territory plus he has the body shape to handle the one on one defensive workload that Queensland do so well at isolating.

Boyd Cordner has shown enough in his comeback to earn a starting spot and his combo with former Roosters team mate, Jennings, may prove decisive on the left edge. Beau Scott is in career best form with the Eels and will ensure Jonathon Thurston will finish the game bruised and battered. The middle three pick themselves (ie Gallen, Woods and Tamou). I went with Nathan Peats at 9 because Farah is hopelessly out of form and we need to start looking towards the future with our spine. It’s an incredible risk. Which is why it wouldn’t surprise if Daley went Dugan-Maloney-Farah as his 1-6-9.

I like the versatility of the bench. In fact, Phil Gould highlighted the importance of the bench by saying he would start the selection process with his bench then chose the starting 13. I went with Greg Bird for his versatility (he can play 6-13-12 or 9) and his experience. Klemmer provides that mongrel and go-forward. Fifita has also been in career best form and can prove an X-factor if we are chasing points. Bryce Cartwright just has to be in the team somewhere. He’s a certainty for the right 2nd Row spot once Scott retires (he and Josh Jackson will fight that position out in the future). At the moment, he is the most creative and most promising forward in the competition and deserves a shot at the biggest arena in rugby league.

As I mentioned previously, the team will change between now and game time but, for the moment, I reckon this mob will give those two-headed dad’s army cane toads a good run for their money. Let the jibes begin!



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