Ok ok. It’s that time of the year when the talk turns to Origin again. Nah, I don’t mean the Slater, Inglis, Lockyer, Hayne, Kimmorley and co. Sure that State of Origin series is on, but it just happens to coincide with the call for a State of Origin in Rugby Union as well!
Look, Big Kev is into it here . Let’s be honest. The chat started in rugby the same way it started in league. Because QLD were sick of being smashed by teams in which their own players were doing the smashing. Back in the 1970s the NSWRL dominated rugby league and the interstate games were selected on residential grounds. So guys as QLD as XXXX beer, like Artie Beetson, Chris Close and Kerry Boustead, were pulling on the sky blue of NSW and just giving it to the QLD team.
Likewise, in recent years, the likes of Nathan Sharpe, Drew Mitchell, Mark Chisholm, Brendan Cannon and even Wendell Sailor were doing the same to the Reds. The Queensland Reds couldn’t take a trick and were meanwhile seeing our young stars move interstate, flourish and return home as the visiting (and usually victorious) team.
So talk of a rugby state of origin usually began and ended with bitter QLD rugby diehards looking to recapture the glory of the late 70s and 80s.
But let’s humour them all shall we? What if we did have a State of Origin this year. Call it a Wallabies trial (without those pesky Canberrians!) But what are the eligibility rules? Shees, that’s hard enough in league where it is ‘where you played your first senior football match’, I think.
So I am going to take the liberty of suggesting, for this case, it is where the player played their senior school footy. What? You want justification for that? Well I have none. Other than to suggest that school footy has, in contemporary times, been the main development path for our rugby teams, rather than club footy. As such, and without further delay, my Queensland and New South Wales State of Origin Rugby Teams.
|15||Peter Hynes||Brisbane, QLD||Brisbane State High School||Reds|
|14||Drew Mitchell||Brisbane, QLD||St Patrick’s College, Shorncliffe||Force|
|13||Will Chambers||Nhulunbuy, NT||St Josephs Nudgee College||Reds|
|12||Berrick Barnes||Brisbane, QLD||Ipswich Grammar School||Waratahs|
|11||Digby Ioane||Wellington, NZ||St Josephs Gregory Terrace||Reds|
|10||Quade Cooper||Tokoroa, NZ||Anglican Church Grammar School||Reds|
|9||Will Genia||PNG||Brisbane Boys College||Reds|
|8||Richard Brown||Townsville, QLD||St Josephs Nudgee College||Force|
|7||David Pocock||Zimbabwe||Anglican Church Grammar School||Force|
|6||Rocky Elsom||Melbourne, VIC||St Josephs Nudgee College||Brumbies|
|5||Nathan Sharpe||Wagga Wagga, NSW||The Southport School||Force|
|4||James Horwill||Brisbane, QLD||Brisbane Boys College||Reds|
|3||Greg Holmes||Warwick, QLD||Downlands College||Reds|
|2||Stephen Moore||Khamas, Saudi Arabia||Brisbane Grammar School||Brumbies|
|1||Ben Daley||Sydney, NSW||All Saints Anglican School||Reds|
|16||Sean Hardman||Brisbane, QLD||St Josephs Nudgee College||Reds|
|17||James Slipper||Gold Coast, QLD||The Southport School||Reds|
|18||Rob Simmons||Theodore, QLD||The Southport School||Reds|
|19||Scott Higginbotham||Subiaco, WA||The Southport School||Reds|
|20||Ben Lucas||Ipswich, QLD||St Josephs Gregory Terrace||Reds|
|21||Matt Toomua||Melbourne, VIC||Brisbane State High School||Brumbies|
|22||James O’Connor||Gold Coast, QLD||St Josephs Nudgee College||Force|
NEW SOUTH WALES:
|15||Cameron Shepherd||Windsor, UK||Barker College||Force|
|14||Lachlan Turner||Sydney, NSW||Newington College||Waratahs|
|13||Stirling Mortlock||Sydney, NSW||The Kings School||Brumbies|
|12||Rob Horne||Sydney, NSW||Georges River College||Waratahs|
|11||Adam Ashley-Cooper||Sydney, NSW||Berkleyvale High School||Brumbies|
|10||Kurtley Beale||Sydney, NSW||St Josephs College, Hunters Hill||Waratahs|
|9||Luke Burgess||Newcastle, NSW||St Josephs College, Hunters Hill||Waratahs|
|8||Wycliff Palu||Sydney, NSW||Balgowlah Boys High School||Waratahs|
|7||Phil Waugh||Sydney, NSW||Sydney Church of England Grammar School||Waratahs|
|6||Matt Hodgson||Sydney, NSW||St Edwards College||Force|
|5||Dean Mumm||Auckland, NZ||The Kings School||Waratahs|
|4||Kane Douglas||Maclean, NSW||Maclean High School||Waratahs|
|3||Ben Alexander||Sydney, NSW||Knox Grammar||Brumbies|
|2||Tatafu Polota-Nau||Sydney, NSW||Granville High School||Waratahs|
|1||Benn Robinson||Sydney, NSW||The Kings School||Waratahs|
|16||Adam Freier||Sydney, NSW||Waverley College||Waratahs|
|17||Laurie Weeks||Sydney, NSW||St Josephs College, Hunters Hill||Reds|
|18||David Dennis||Sydney, NSW||Richmond High School||Waratahs|
|19||Stephen Hoiles||Sydney, NSW||Waverley College||Brumbies|
|20||Brett Sheehan||Geraldton, WA||St Josephs College, Hunters Hill||Force|
|21||Ryan Cross||Sydney, NSW||Waverley College||Force|
|22||Morgan Turinui||Sydney, NSW||Waverley College||Reds|
So what do you think? I was actually pleasantly surprised by the quality of that QLD team. But what about some of those match-ups? The back three of Hynes, Mitchell & Ioane v Shepherd, Turner and Ashley-Cooper! Chambers and Berrick taking on Stirling and Robbie Horne. Quade and Will together again v Beale and Burgess. I tell you what, I’d back the Queenslanders in each of those contests.
But what about the forwards? Just look at the backrows! Rocky, Pocock and Richard Brown up against Cliffy, Phil Waugh and Matty Hodgson. Wow! I’d be calling a slight edge to QLD at lock with Big Kev and Sharpie too good for Mummy and the raw Kane Douglas. Up front though it is all NSW with that awesome front row of a couple of Ben(n)s and Taf against Holmes and Daley propping next to the Wallaby hooker Moore.
The benches are fairly equal though, perhaps a lean towards QLD in the backs particularly with Rabbit O’Connor and young Matty Toomua.
But what do you think? Firstly, did I get the teams right? If so, who’d you back? QLD or the boys in blue?
In the end, I reckon it’s all moot. If the players pull the pin on a Probables v Possibles selection trial, as they did last year, are they really want to play this one? And what do we do with those boys from our nation’s capital? You know. Giteau, the Faingaas, Jack Kennedy! Just a RDO for them?
And what relevance is there for someone like Berrick Barnes who is contracted to the NEW SOUTH WALES Waratahs only to play for Queensland in a one off? I couldn’t see it pulling the passion that first Origin did all the way back in 1980.
Let’s face it, even Origin has lost its passion. It is still the show piece event, no doubt. But more because it pits the best 26 players in the NRL (in which there are a lot of very average players) together for three nights of battle. In the end, the Super 14 (and 15 next year) captures all our best players, playing week in and week out already. What’s the origin concept really going to add to it all?If they do bring it back though. I have some stipulations.
* No sponsor names on the jerseys unless it’s a full strength beer or a cigarette company.
* Teams to stay on the field at half time for their oranges (and oranges only!)
* Game to be played either Saturday or Sunday afternoon.
* One coach per team.
* Teams gather one week prior to the game.
* Game to be played at either Ballymore, Concord Oval or the SCG.
* Moustaches compulsory (and hair product banned).
* No citing officer.
* The game is between QUEENSLAND and NEW SOUTH WALES. Not the QR Reds or HSBC Waratahs.
* The crowd is allowed on the field at full time (or even before it on occasions).
Oh, and one more thing, no match payments. This one would be for nothing but good old fasioned braggin’ rights!