Origin stars shining in finals
THE six NRL clubs heading into the second round of NRL finals again highlight how significant State of Origin football is to rugby league.
No less than 24 of the players who pulled on the maroon or blue jumper and did battle for their state earlier this year are engaged in round two of the finals series - two wins away from a grand final appearance in Sydney on October 4.
Amazingly there are 12 NSW Origin players and 12 Queensland players left.
The best represented clubs are Brisbane (5) and the Bulldogs (5) followed by the Roosters (4), Cowboys (4), Cronulla (3) and Storm (3).
The make-up of the 24 Origin representatives is also interesting - with 11 backs and 13 forwards.
It highlights not only the quality of the teams but the toughness of players such as Johnathan Thurston, Paul Gallen, Sam Thaiday, Cameron Smith, Josh Jackson and David Klemmer that they are still able to produce tremendous football at the end of such a physically demanding season.
Two clubs will drop out after the weekend with both Brisbane and Melbourne safe after winning their first round qualifying finals.
For those players, they will sit back with their feet up and watch the other teams smash each other in the battle for survival.
The clubs and their Origin players hoping to still be alive at the end of round two:
Roosters: Daniel Tupou, Michael Jennings, Boyd Cordner, Aidan Guerra.
Bulldogs: Brett Morris, Josh Morris, Josh Reynolds, Josh Jackson, David Klemmer.
Cowboys: Michael Morgan, Johnathan Thurston, Matt Scott, James Tamou.
Cronulla: Michael Ennis, Paul Gallen, Andrew Fifita.
Broncos: Darius Boyd, Justin Hodges, Sam Thaiday, Matt Gillett, Corey Parker.
Melbourne: Will Chambers, Cooper Cronk, Cameron Smith.