Johnathan Thurston of the Maroons during State of Origin Game III last year.
Johnathan Thurston of the Maroons during State of Origin Game III last year.

The match-ups that will decide Origin II

The Battle of the Fullbacks

 

Billy Slater signs a young fans jersey.
Billy Slater signs a young fans jersey. Tony Martin

 

James Tedesco v Billy Slater

McInerney: This is arguably the most mouth-watering match-up this series. Slater has long been the benchmark for rep fullbacks, but Tedesco's game-one performance sets this up as master v apprentice duel. Slater will again prove he's the best fullback of the modern era but Tedesco's time will come.

Elkerton: James Tedesco, take a bow. The livewire fullback was the Blues' best in Origin I. Behind a pack that is going forward, there is no limit to what he can achieve. Coming head to head with the best fullback in Origin history will be a telling point for Teddy.

Andrew Fifita of the NSW Blues  during Game 1 of the State of Origin series at Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane, Wednesday,  May 31, 2017. (AAP Image/Dave Hunt) NO ARCHIVING
Andrew Fifita of the NSW Blues during Game 1 of the State of Origin series at Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane, Wednesday, May 31, 2017. (AAP Image/Dave Hunt) NO ARCHIVING DAVE HUNT

PROPS

Andrew Fifita v Jarrod Wallace

McInerney: There's baptisms of fire, then there's this. Wallace is tasked with trying to stop Fifita, whose game-one performance was one of the best in decades. Wallace is a good match: he has the size, boasts similar NRL yardage (Fifita 1893m, Wallace 1858m) and is just as willing to take a hit-up (163 runs v 167). Where Wallace wins is in defence (332 tackles v 447), and that could be the difference. (Stats via NRL app.)

Elkerton: If Tedesco was the Blues' best, than Fifita was second by a hair's width. The NRL's favourite bad boy is an unstoppable machine when he takes the field, and with the metres on offer in game one he lapped them up greedily. While he won't get it as easy in game two, he will want to stamp his authority.

 

Jarryd Hayne of the NSW Blues runs to score a try during Game one of the State of Origin series against the Queensland Maroons at Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane, Wednesday, May 31, 2017. (AAP Image/Dan Peled) NO ARCHIVING, EDITORIAL USE ONLY
Jarryd Hayne of the NSW Blues runs to score a try during Game one of the State of Origin series against the Queensland Maroons at Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane, Wednesday, May 31, 2017. (AAP Image/Dan Peled) NO ARCHIVING, EDITORIAL USE ONLY DAN PELED

CENTRES

 

Jarryd Hayne v Darius Boyd

McInerney: The decision to move the incumbent Australian fullback to the centres is a risky move, but Boyd has previously proved he can adapt to new positions. That unfamiliarity could actually play into the Maroons' hands: Hayne and co may not know what to expect.

Elkerton: The Hayne Plane took off in the first game but recent performances for the Titans have me worried. Hayne has almost looked disinterested for the Gold Coast this season and he will need to be at his best against Queensland.

Coen Hess during the Queensland State of Origin team training session on the Gold Coast, Friday, June 16, 2017. (AAP Image/Dave Hunt) NO ARCHIVING
Coen Hess during the Queensland State of Origin team training session on the Gold Coast, Friday, June 16, 2017. (AAP Image/Dave Hunt) NO ARCHIVING DAVE HUNT

 

RESERVE FORWARDS

Jake Trbojevic v Coen Hess

McInerney: This is a battle that could appear in this column for the next decade. Surrounded by veterans, and a strong club combination with Johnathan Thurston, Michael Morgan and Gavin Cooper, there's no reason Hess will stutter in his Origin debut.

Elkerton: Trbojevic is the future of the Blues. He will be a decade-long Origin star and his first game in the sky blue did him no disservice. Cut from a similar cloth to Nathan Hindmarsh, he gets through a mountain of defensive work while still averaging 130 run metres a game.

QUEENSLAND

1. Billy Slater - Club: Storm Age: 34 Height: 178cm

Weight: 89kg Origins: 27

2. Valentine Holmes - Club: Sharks Age: 21 Height: 185cm

Weight: 87kg Origins: 0

3. Will Chambers - Club: Storm Age: 29 Height: 190cm

Weight: 101kg Origins: 5

4. Darius Boyd - Club: Broncos Age: 29 Height: 185cm

Weight: 96kg Origins: 27

5. Dane Gagai - Club: Knights Age: 26 Height: 182cm

Weight: 92kg Origins: 5

6. Johnathan Thurston - Club: Cowboys Age: 34 Height: 179cm

Weight: 87kg Origins: 36

7. Cooper Cronk - Club: Storm Age: 33 Height: 178cm

Weight: 89kg Origins: 20

8. Dylan Napa - Club: Roosters Age: 24 Height: 194cm

Weight: 109kg Origins: 1

9. Cameron Smith (C)

Club: Storm Age: 34 Height: 185cm

Weight: 92kg Origins: 40

10. Jarrod Wallace - Club: Titans Age: 25 Height: 189cm

Weight: 108kg Origins: 0

11. Gavin Cooper - Club: Cowboys Age: 31 Height: 197cm

Weight: 108kg Origins: 1

12. Matt Gillett - Club: Broncos Age: 28 Height: 187cm

Weight: 101kg Origins: 16

13. Josh McGuire - Club: Broncos Age: 27 Height: 180cm

Weight: 102kg Origins: 6

INTERCHANGE

14. Michael Morgan - Club: Cowboys Age: 25 Height: 185cm

Weight: 92kg Origins: 6

15. Josh Papalii - Club: Raiders Age: 25 Height: 183cm

Weight: 112kg Origins: 7

16. Coen Hess - Club: Cowboys Age: 20 Height: 190cm

Weight: 110kg Origins: 0

17. Tim Glasby - Club: Storm Age: 28 Height: 188cm

Weight: 105kg Origins: 0

NEW SOUTH WALES

1. James Tedesco - Club: Tigers Age: 24 Height: 180cm

Weight: 93kg Origins: 2

2. Brett Morris - Club: Bulldogs Age: 30 Height: 183cm

Weight: 96kg Origins: 13

3. Josh Dugan - Club: Dragons Age: 27 Height: 188cm

 

Weight: 101kg Origins: 10

4. Jarryd Hayne - Club: Titans Age: 29 Height: 189cm

Weight: 100kg Origins: 21

5. Blake Ferguson - Club: Roosters Age: 27 Height: 192cm

Weight: 103kg Origins: 5

6. James Maloney - Club: Sharks Age: 31 Height: 176cm

Weight: 83kg Origins: 7

7. Mitchell Pearce - Club: Roosters Age: 28 Height: 182cm

Weight: 91kg Origins: 16

8. Aaron Woods - Club: Tigers Age: 26 Height: 194cm

Weight: 114kg Origins: 12

9. Nathan Peats - Club: Titans Age: 26 Height: 181cm

Weight: 92kg Origins: 1

10. Andrew Fifita - Club: Sharks Age: 27 Height: 196cm

Weight: 114kg Origins: 8

11. Boyd Cordner (C) - Club: Roosters Age: 25 Height: 188cm

Weight: 102kg Origins: 7

12. Josh Jackson - Club: Bulldogs Age: 26 Height: 180 cm

Weight: 99kg Origins: 7

13. Tyson Frizell - Club: Dragons Age: 25 Height: 185cm

Weight: 108kg Origins: 3

INTERCHANGE

14. David Klemmer - Club: Bulldogs Age: 23 Height: 200cm

Weight: 120kg Origins: 7

15. Wade Graham - Club: Sharks Age: 26 Height: 186cm

Weight: 96kg Origins: 2

16. Jake Trbojevic - Club: Sea Eagles Age: 23 Height: 185cm

Weight: 107kg Origins: 1

17. Jack Bird - Club: Sharks Age: 22 Height: 183cm

Weight: 93kg Origins: 3

News Corp Australia


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