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Cleary or DCE, Ponga or Tedesco, Carrigan, Cotter?




Now that the annual interstate conflict is done and dusted with Queensland yet again proving their critics wrong, which players enhanced their reputations to make the Team of Origin.

With the World Cup on the horizon at the end of the year, Kangaroos squad berths are up for grabs so we’ve asked The Roar experts to come up with their Origin Merit Team.

That means anyone who wore a NSW or Queensland jersey in the Maroons’ 2-1 series victory is eligible irrespective of whether they will nominate for Australia or another nation at the global tournament in the UK.

Maroons rookie Patrick Carrigan was a surprise winner of the Wally Lewis Medal for player of the series and is one of several fresh faces who pushed their cause at Origin level hoping to reach international honours.

The Roar experts have their say and if you’d like to do likewise, fire away in the comments section below.

Experts Roar – Teams of Origin

Michael Hagan (premiership-winning player and coach)

Jack Wighton and Reuben Cotter only played one game in the series but I had to find room in there somewhere for each of them. Daly Cherry-Evans just gets the nod over Nathan Cleary for halfback.

1 James Tedesco
2 Daniel Tupou
3 Valentine Holmes
4 Jack Wighton
5 Brian To’o
6 Cameron Munster
7 Daly Cherry-Evans
8 Payne Haas
9 Ben Hunt
10 Tino Fa’asuamaleaui
11 Cameron Murray
12 Kurt Capewell
13 Isaah Yeo
14 Harry Grant
15 Pat Carrigan
16 Reuben Cotter
17 Jeremiah Nanai

Queensland celebrate in Origin 1

(Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

Paul Suttor (Roar expert)

It was actually hard to select the forwards given there was so much chopping and changing, due to injuries and game by game selections. Even though Queensland won the series, Nathan Cleary should have his nose in front in the race for the Kangaroos No.7 jersey.

1 James Tedesco
2 Brian To’o
3 Valentine Holmes
4 Matt Burton
5 Daniel Tupou
6 Cameron Munster
7 Nathan Cleary
8 Payne Haas
9 Ben Hunt
10 Patrick Carrigan
11 Cameron Murray
12 Kurt Capewell
13 Isaah Yeo
14 Kalyn Ponga
15 Tino Fa’asuamaleaui
16 Jake Trbojevic
17 Reuben Cotter

Tim Gore (Roar expert)

  1. James Tedesco – Was the best fullback throughout.
  2. Kalyn Ponga – Can’t leave him out although not quite as good as Teddy, so he gets a wing spot.
  3. Valentine Holmes – Played all three matches and was the standout centre for the series.
  4. Jack Wighton – Only played one game but still earned this spot on that effort.
  5. Dane Gagai – He had an impact greater than all of the wingers who took part so he gets the spot.
  6. Cameron Munster – Clearly outpointed Jarome Luai and was man of the match in game one.
  7. Daly Cherry-Evans – To the victor go the spoils.
  8. Junior Paulo – A slow start to the series but really did well overall.
  9. Ben Hunt – Had the most impact of anyone who played No.9.
  10. Tino Fa’asuamaleaui – I’m a Tino fan. He never stops trying.
  11. Cameron Murray – Would Queensland have won if Murray doesn’t get knocked out? The bloke can play.
  12. Patrick Carrigan – Outstanding all series. Has arrived at the top level.
  13. Isaah Yeo – Outstanding and consistent effort throughout.
  14. Nathan Cleary – MOM in game two. Has to be included.
  15. Liam Martin – Worked so hard. Let no one down and really took it up to the Queenslanders.
  16. Lindsay Collins – The third best prop in the series, in spite of his HIA.
  17. Kurt Capewell – What can’t he do? Just a great player in attack and defence and is so versatile.
  18. Koroisau – Did a really good job at #9 for the Blues.
James Tedesco Origin

(Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)

Mary Konstantopoulos (Ladies Who League)

  1. James Tedesco
  2. Brian To’o
  3. Matt Burton
  4. Valentine Holmes
  5. Kalyn Ponga
  6. Cameron Munster
  7. Daly Cherry-Evans
  8. Payne Haas
  9. Ben Hunt
  10. Junior Paulo
  11. Cameron Murray
  12. Felise Kaufusi
  13. Isaah Yeo
  14. Harry Grant
  15. Jai Arrow
  16. Patrick Carrigan
  17. Jacob Saifiti

Joe Frost (Roar expert)

1 James Tedesco
2 Daniel Tupou
3 Valentine Holmes
4 Matt Burton
5 Brian To’o
6 Cameron Munster
7 Daly Cherry-Evans
8 Payne Haas
9 Harry Grant
10 Jake Trbojevic
11 Cameron Murray
12 Kurt Capewell
13 Patrick Carrigan
14 Tino Fa’asuamaleaui
15 Kalyn Ponga
16 Jacob Saifiti
17 Ben Hunt

Danielle Smith (Roar expert)

Regarding the recent sooky la-la about Origin being the audition for a Kangaroo jersey, and if you don’t want to play for Australia then you shouldn’t play Origin: the door has to swing both ways – if you didn’t play in the Origin series, you don’t get to play for Australia. Sorry Latrell.

Based solely on who played State of Origin this year – as well as how they played (you know, because it was an audition) – this should be the Australian side.

  1. James Tedesco
  2. Kalyn Ponga (He has to be somewhere – the two Origin fullbacks were outstanding)
  3. Matt Burton
  4. Valentine Holmes
  5. Selwyn Cobbo
  6. Cam Munster
  7. Daly Cherry-Evans
  8. Tino Fa’asuamaleaui
  9. Ben Hunt
  10. Jake Trbojevic
  11. Kurt Capewell
  12. Liam Martin
  13. Pat Carrigan
  14. Harry Grant
  15. Payne Haas
  16. Reuben Cotter
  17. Jeremiah Nanai
  18. Tom Dearden
Matt Burton sin bin

(Photo by Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images)

Stuart Thomas (Roar expert)

Selecting a best 17 from the recent Origin series is a challenging task. Many players peaked at great heights before floundering and there were changes aplenty across both squads for a variety of reasons. The fullback position is one of the more interesting debates, with James Tedesco getting my nod over the bench-bound Kalyn Ponga, despite the mastery the Queensland custodian produced in the final match.

The wing positions are problematic, with no real consistency shown by any of the speed men, whilst Valentine Holmes and Dane Gagai must be the centres, with New South Wales’ options not convincing in my view.

The halves pick themselves and the Queensland dominated pack is reflective of where the series was won, with only Jake Trbojevic and Liam Martin earning spots in the starting line-up. I’m not sure if the balance of the team is perfect, but in terms of merit, this would be my collective best 17.

1 James Tedesco
2 Daniel Tupou
3 Valentine Holmes
4 Dane Gagai
5 Corey Oates
6 Cameron Munster
7 Daly Cherry-Evans
8 Josh Papalii
9 Ben Hunt
10 Jake Trbojevic
11 Jeremiah Nanai
12 Liam Martin
13 Patrick Carrigan
14 Kalyn Ponga
15 Damien Cook
16 Tino Fa’asuamaleaui
17 Payne Haas

Mike Meehall Wood (Roar expert)

Men’s Origin was strange, because in a lot of ways, NSW played better across the 240 minutes but lost the crucial moments. I’d say they were better in the first 40 in Game 1, all of Game 2 and the first 40 of Game 3 – but managed to leave points out there and make themselves vulnerable for when Queensland eventually got their act together.

My team reflects that a little. It’s an inexact science as well, because if you told me to list the top 10 players across the series, I’d have James Tedesco and Kayln Ponga, Nathan Cleary and Daly Cherry-Evans, when obviously, I can’t pick two fullback and two halfbacks. You could say the same for Api Koroisau, who was excellent, but behind the QLD hooker rotation.

Conversely, none of the wingers were really that great – Brian To’o, who is consistently good, was the best – and I’m not sure that, Val Holmes aside, there’s much going for centres when Jack Wighton, Dane Gagai and Matt Burton only played one game across three.

Nobody asked for it but the Origin game I enjoyed the most was the Women’s game, so extra bonus Jillaroos Merit Team beneath that will put 50 on every side they face in York and Leeds this November.

Men

1 James Tedesco
2 Selwyn Cobbo
3 Valentine Holmes
4 Matt Burton
5 Brian To’o
6 Cameron Munster
7 Daly Cherry-Evans
8 Payne Haas
9 Ben Hunt
10 Tino Fa’asuamaleaui
11 Cameron Murray
12 Kurt Capewell
13 Isaah Yeo
14 Harry Grant
15 Pat Carrigan
16 Felise Kaufusi
17 Kalyn Ponga

Women

1 Emma Tonegato
2 Tiana Penitani
3 Isabelle Kelly
4 Jess Sergis
5 Evania Pelite
6 Kirra Dibb
7 Ali Brigginshaw
8 Mille Boyle
9 Brittany Breayley-Nati
10 Chelsea Lenarduzzi
11 Kezie Apps
12 Tazmin Gray
13 Siamama Taufa
14 Tarryn Aitken
15 Caitlan Johnston
16 Destiny Brill
17 Sarah Togatuki





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