How they will line up


  1. James Tedesco. The Roosters and Blues captain wasn’t the most eye-catching of the NSW backs in the game one demolition but more than did his job. His nine tackle breaks and more than 200 run metres underscored the constant threat he poses with ball in hand while his work off the ball was exemplary as always.
  2. Brian To’o. The tackle-busting Panther made a brilliant start to his Origin career with two tries in game one. Far more impressive and important than the tries though was his unstoppable work out of yardage with match-highs in runs (27) and metres (233) while his supposed weakness under the high ball was barely even tested.
  3. Latrell Mitchell. The South Sydney superstar’s return to the Origin arena was nothing less than spectacular. Playing in his old centre spot, Mitchell was devastating with ball in hand, monstering close friend and clubmate Dane Gagai on his way to two line breaks, two tries, two try assists and a match-high 10 tackle busts.
  4. Tom Trbojevic. It can be hard to find enough superlatives for the unstoppable Manly fullback. Showed in 2019 he is capable of rewriting how a centre plays in Origin football and took that to new levels in his man-of-the-match effort in Origin I, running both sides of the field as a proxy second fullback, scoring three tries and setting up another.
  5. Josh Addo-Carr. Was one of the first names on the game one team sheet but The Foxx was the quietest of the Blues backs after being switched to the right wing with all the action on the opposite flank. Let nobody down with 100m and no errors but will be hopeful of some more action in game two.
  6. Jarome Luai. Next time somebody writes an article along the lines of “the greatest debuts in Origin history”, Luai’s name could well make it onto the list.
    The Panthers playmaker was irrepressible in Origin I with his full range of slick passing and evasive running on show, winning the war of words with his Maroons rivals and with his underrated defence easily winning the one-on-one battle with Felise Kaufusi, who made him a target.
  7. Nathan Cleary. Has spent most of his previous eight Origins playing second fiddle in the halves but showed in game one he is ready to lead this team. Showed some silky ball skills in early tries to Trbojevic and To’o and lit up with his running game in the second, breaking the line twice.
  8. Daniel Saifiti. The hard-running Knights prop has gone from shock bolter to automatic selection over the past two Origin series with his huge line-bending carries his biggest asset. Saifiti’s running figures of 9.5m per hit-up carry and 147 total metres per game are top-10 among NRL middle forwards.
  9. Damien Cook. Had to endure doubts over his spot in the team ahead of game one but showed why he is there with another excellent performance. Didn’t run it too many times but when he did he made it count and otherwise provided slick service.
  10. Junior Paulo. The Eels prop was huge off the bench in game one, carrying defenders with every carry as he amassed a whopping 5.5 post-contact metres per run — easily the best of any player from either side. Moves into the run-on side ahead of Payne Haas to cover for the loss of Jake Trbojevic.
  11. Cameron Murray. The South Sydney lock is certainly a better middle than an edge but did a crucial job for the Blues in game one shutting down Maroons tackle-buster David Fifita. Expect him to spend less time in that role in game two with Angus Crichton replacing Jake Trbojevic in the 17, likely shifting to the middle once Crichton is injected on an edge within the opening half hour.
  12. Tariq Sims. The hard-hitting Dragon earned a starting spot in Crichton’s game one absence and made it count with his best Origin game in his third match and first run-on start. Gets the chance to play two Origins in the same series for the first time after doing a great job in the series opener.
  13. Isaah Yeo. The Panthers lock won’t feature in a stack of the game one highlights but was close to the best forward on the park, reproducing the vital role he plays at Penrith across a superb 80-minute stint for the Blues.
  14. Jack Wighton. Didn’t get much of a chance off the bench in game one, with four minutes in the first half while Nathan Cleary had a facial cut looked at and some more minutes at the end. May not get any more minutes in game two barring injury but covers plenty of positions.
  15. Angus Crichton. Would certainly have been in the 17 and probably in the starting side for game one barring injury. Has to be content with a bench spot with Fittler reluctant to unnecessarily disrupt a side coming off a 50-6 win.
    Can do a job in the middle if needed but more likely to come on in his preferred edge role and shift Murray to the middle. His past four club games have yielded four tries, 22 busts and 625 run metres.
  16. Payne Haas. Another of the Blues who had his best Origin in game one, Haas made more metres than any forward other than Saifiti in a single 57-minute spell either side of half time. His four busts was the most of any forward in the game and his 33 tackles was one behind Cook’s team-high 34.
  17. Liam Martin. A whirlwind call-up after incumbent Tyson Frizell was injured just minutes before the Blues were set to announce their game one team, Martin made his presence felt from the moment he got on the field, rattling Maroons ball-runners and getting stuck in.

  1. Reece Walsh. The Warriors whizz-kid enters Origin folklore as the least experienced debutant of the modern era after a stunning seven-game start to his NRL career.
    Will be hugely tested by a relentless Blues outfit.
  2. Valentine Holmes. The Cowboys fullback was hardly the reason for the Maroons’ game one woes but in a perfect world would be playing wing rather than fullback at Origin level anyway, where he has dominated the Blues in the past. Stronger on kick returns than the man he replaces, Xavier Coates.
  3. Kurt Capewell. Had a sterling start to his Origin career in the centres in 2020 but had a tougher time of it in game one this year marking the in-form Tom Trbojevic. Did score his side’s only try.
  4. Dane Gagai. Famously brings his best every time he pulls on the Maroon jersey but had a very rare off night in game one after a build-up hampered by tonsillitis and a trip to hospital, made tougher by Souths teammate Latrell Mitchell’s red-hot form.
  5. Kyle Feldt. Aside from giving away one costly early penalty, Feldt looked comfortable on debut, or as much as was possible in the face of a Blues onslaught. Has come up with some big plays this year and has two tries in his past two games.
  6. Cameron Munster. Munster has been close to Queensland’s most important player since the retirements of Slater, Cronk, Smith and Thurston but was underdone due to a foot injury heading into game one and it showed. Another who should be better in game two.
  7. Daly Cherry-Evans. The Queensland skipper was a shattered man after the record game one loss but has since responded in the best possible way, with two towering performances in huge club wins.
  8. Christian Welch. Welch’s head knock was one of the real turning points of game one. The Maroons were in the arm wrestle until he was forced from the field while it was still nil-all. Among the best few front-rowers in the game.
  9. Andrew McCullough. The veteran Dragons rake is recalled for his fourth Origin and first since 2018 after the injuries to Harry Grant and Reed Mahoney. A reliable defender with a handy kicking game.
  10. Josh Papalii. Missed badly by Queensland in game one due to suspension, Papalii was always short odds to come back into the side even had the Maroons won. By his own admission, Papalii’s 2021 season has been inconsistent but there is no doubting his impact in his two club games since he returned from suspension.
  11. Jai Arrow. A bit of a curve ball from coach Paul Green with Arrow listed to start on an edge – a position he had never started in six seasons of NRL until last week against Brisbane. Likely moves into the middle rotation early once David Fifita is injected from the bench.
  12. Felise Kaufusi. Did his best to unsettle Blues debutant Jarome Luai in game one, running at him with intent but arguably coming off second best. Has been a reliable operator for the Maroons in 10 straight games and in impeccable form for the ladder-leading Storm.
  13. Tino Fa’asuamaleaui. One of the few Maroons forwards to make any sort of impact with his running game in game one, Fa’asuamaleaui moves from prop to lock for game two. Has been churning through plenty of metres for the Titans.
  14. Ben Hunt. His absence from game one looks like the biggest selection blunder of the series to date in hindsight. A consistent performer at this level, more than capable of defending in the middle for 80 minutes with the ball skills to excel in the halves or at hooker and coming off an imperious match-winning effort in Canberra, Hunt shapes as a big ‘in’ for the Maroons.
  15. Moeaki Fotuaika. The only man in Queensland’s game one 17 to walk off Queensland Country Bank Stadium with his reputation enhanced. Made the most metres of any Maroons forward with 115, and was the only Queenslander to finish the match with a tackle efficiency over 90 per cent.
  16. David Fifita. Was well handled by Cameron Murray in game one but with easily the most tries and busts of any forward in the NRL this year, it is still a curious decision to demote Fifita to the bench. Expect him to come on early to shift Arrow to the middle when he will be fresh to unleash his running game against some more weary Blues forwards.
  17. Francis Molo. Possibly an even bigger bolter than Walsh on the game two team list, the Dragons-bound Cowboys front-rower has been in steady rather than commanding form for the Cowboys and displaces Joe Ofahengaue as Paul Green’s bench middle. – NRL

One thought on “How they will line up

  • Ben Hunt should takeover from Cherry-Evans. No good combination from this two halves. Good to change halves, six and seven position. Cherry Evans should be on the bench now. He’s not a good halfback. Nothing he can do. Marroons selecters please open your eyes and select good halves
    As a die-hard marroons I trust Ben Hunt.

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