Matt Findlay and Nick McGrath enjoy plenty of healthy debates in the Central Western Daily bullpen, particularly around State of Origin.
Normally the two are at loggerheads regarding the Blues side but incredibly, they agree on plenty this year, mainly the fact Matty Johns hit the nail on the head – loyalty stinks when it isn’t deserved.
It’s Groundhog Day ladies and gentleman and let me introduce you to Bill Murray...I mean Laurie Daley.
It’s time to talk State of Origin, it’s also time to listen to Daley spout his usual rhetoric about “staying loyal”.
Newsflash Loz, that plan stinks.
I’m the first to admit Queensland’s team over the last 10 or so years has been a once-in-a-generation unit, but even so, NSW isn’t going to beat the Queenslanders at their own game.
So, champion, instead of picking the same team and watching them get flogged why not pick the blokes who haven’t banged on the selection door so much as ripped it from its hinges?
There’s a handful of blokes in form and ready to go – think the likes of Paul Vaughan, Jordan McLean, BJ Leilua, Tom and Jake Trobjevic and Mitchell Pearce.
Pick them, pick them all.
While you’re at it, pick some of the other gigantic bodies floating around NSW and bash Queensland’s aging pack through the middle, then let NSW’s exciting outside backs go to work.
And no, those exciting outside backs don’t include Blake Ferguson this year.
There’s a host of young, electrifying, in form outside backs to pick from even with James Roberts ruled out – Dylan Walker, Jack Bird, BJ Leilua, Tom Trobjevic, David Nofoaluma… does anyone know if Suliasi Vunivalu is eligible for State of Origin?
And for goodness sake, don’t pick Robbie Farah like I read you’re going to on Monday morning.
Can we forget about using Matt Moylan as a utility too?
If he starts, great, fine, whatever… but it shouldn’t be in place of James Tedesco or James Maloney.
Why does NSW need cover for a fullback and a five-eighth?
Moylan’s great, but I don’t see much value in having him on the bench.
Jack Bird’s the obvious, logical choice as a utility for me although I think a strong argument could be made for Jack Wighton too.
Don’t come at me with the usual ‘Findlay you’ve never played that level, you’re not a selector, you don’t know what you’re talking about, blah, blah blah’ argument.
I know all that, but I also know what hasn’t worked for NSW in the last 11 years – much like a lot of you, I’m wagering.
Over to you, McGrath.
FINDLAY’S NSW TEAM: 1 James Tedesco, 2 Tom Trobjevic, 3 BJ Leilua, 4 Dylan Walker, 5 Jarryd Hayne, 6 James Maloney, 7 Mitchell Pearce, 8 Junior Paulo, 9 Nathan Peats, 10 Andrew Fifita, 11 Boyd Cordner, 12 Wade Graham, 13 Tyson Frizell; Bench: 14 Paul Vaughan, 15 Jordan McLean, 16 Jake Trobjevic, 17 Jack Bird
SIZE DOES MATTER
When did we, as the proud state of NSW, reach this point?
When, Laurie? I need an answer.
Was it when Darren Lockyer swooped on a wayward Blues pass to pinch Origin three in 2006, gifting the Maroons a 16-14 win and in turn, beginning that stretch of nine series wins?
Or was it when the raging bull, big Gordie Tallis, slung our NSW fullback what now seems about 35 metres in to touch to swing momentum Queensland’s way?
For the record, I know on both of those occasions Brett Hodgson was involved, but as a Tiger in freefall at the moment, I can’t bring myself to blame Hodgo.
He’s a legend. Bring him back. He'd still kill it.
So, let’s dig deeper ...
Has it been slowly embedded is us year after year when we hear Paul Vautin, Billy Moore or Wally Lewis – or that annoying friend everyone has who was born in NSW and has only ever gone to Queensland to go to Wet’N’Wild – telling anyone who’ll listen the Maroons never give up?
After all, that’s what Origin is about. That’s why Queensland rulllleeezzzz….QUEEEENNNNSSSLLLAAAANNNDDDAAAHHHH.
Please, spare me.
But, someone please tell me, when did NSW’s Origin plan become all about mimicking the canetoads north of the border?
It's pathetic, and it irks me more than that vision of that pretty ordinary try Mark Coyne scored in 1994.
A miracle? Nope. No way.
Here’s a home truth – the Maroons are loyal because there just isn’t really anyone else to pick in Queensland. Let's be honest.
Throw in the fact they’re winning every series and there’s not really a reason to panic and pick someone like a Jayson Bukuya, or a Nene McDonald or, wait for it, an Edrick Lee.
We’d have won 10 series of our own if Neduardo Lee got a run at any point in the last decade.
So, why is NSW sticking solid, showing Queensland-like loyalty to players who’ve been losing? Come on Laurie, lift.
Let’s go back to what NSW rugby league was always about. Size and speed.
When the Blues win, it’s because they’ve picked big bodies and overpowered the Maroons.
Shaun Timmins wasn’t a five-eighth. He was a terrible lock. But he shone as a big body in the halves for NSW.
Trent Barrett was the same, although a little more skilled in the halves than Timmins.
Lazarus, Roach, Harrigan, Carroll, Sironen - the good one, Paul, not Curtis - then out wide McGregor, Cooper, Gasnier, Mad Dog McDougall, Tahu, even Hoppa.
Big, strong, fast. It's what the winning NSW teams did best.
So Laurie, Loz, Lozza, get this up on the whiteboard when Sterlo and yourself sit down and pick a side for Origin one – get some big boys in the team.
Pick David Nofoaluma too, get a Tiger in there.
McGRATH’S NSW TEAM: 1 James Tedesco, 2 Tom Trbojevic, 3 BJ Leilua, 4 Jarryd Hayne, 5 David Nofoaluma, 6 James Maloney, 7 Mitch Pearce, 8 Dave Klemmer, 9 Cameron McInnes, 10 Junior Paulo, 11 Boyd Cordner, 12 Wade Graham, 13 Tyson Frizell; Bench: 14 Paul Vaughan, 15 Jordon McLean, 16 Jake Trbojevic, 17 Jack Bird.