Last night NSW coach Brad “Freddie” Fittler joined his Queensland counterpart Kevin Walters in naming a new-look side for State of Origin game 1 next week. Both sides are very light on experience, with NSW naming a record 11 debutants and Queensland needing to cover for the loss of several game legends in key positions.
Queensland State of Origin team: 1. Billy Slater 2. Valentine Holmes 3. Greg Inglis (capt) 4. Will Chambers 5. Dane Gagai 6. Cameron Munster 7. Ben Hunt 8. Dylan Napa 9. Andrew McCullough 10. Jarrod Wallace 11. Gavin Cooper 12. Felise Kaufusi 13. Josh McGuire Interchange: 14. Michael Morgan 15. Josh Papalii 16. Coen Hess 17. Jai Arrow.
This Queensland side has lost over 150 caps worth of Origin experience through the retirements of Cooper Cronk, Johnathan Thurston and Cameron Smith, the lack of form from Darius Boyd and an injury to Matt Scott. Walters has picked a safe side based on form in each position, although not having a regular goal kicker or dominant half could hurt the team. Billy Slater will be called on to do much of the organizing in attack.
New South Wales State of Origin team: 1. James Tedesco 2. Josh Addo-Carr 3. James Roberts 4. Latrell Mitchell 5. Tom Trbojevic 6. James Maloney 7. Nathan Cleary 8. Reagan Campbell-Gillard 9. Damien Cook 10. David Klemmer 11. Boyd Cordner (capt) 12. Tyson Frizell 13. Jack de Belin Interchange: 14. Paul Vaughan 15. Jake Trbojevic 16. Angus Crichton 17. Tyrone Peachey 18. Tariq Sims 19. Nick Cotric.
Fittler has purged the key players who have lost 11 of the last 12 series, and as a consequence has a very inexperienced side. This is a very young side, however every player named is in form and will be confident that they can do the job. The backline has a lot of points in it, although could prove leaky – especially against Greg Inglis. Personally I also don’t quite see the logic in having the only ballplayer in the back 5 (Tom Trbojevic) playing on the wing.