Jason Taumalolo on the charge for the Cowboys.
Jason Taumalolo on the charge for the Cowboys. Mark Metcalfe

State of Origin: Look what we're missing out on

PICKING a team like this is always difficult - there are so many great players from New Zealand, England and the Pacific islands.

If picking what I considered the very best team, it would likely be the NZ team with Sam Burgess, James Graham and Suliasi Vunivalu brought in - how boring!

So, to keep it interesting, I have decided to try and pick a team with a solid mix of nations represented.

Roger Tuivasa-Sheck (NZ): A big body, light on his feet, fast and in excellent form. Would be a walk-up start for NSW and would quite likely keep Billy Slater out of the Queensland team (or move him to the wing).

Suliasi Vunivalu (Fiji): Has been one of the form wingers in the NRL for 18 months. Not afraid of the dirty work, particularly dangerous chasing attacking kicks and finds the try line at will.

BJ Leilua (Samoa): Has a mistake or two in him, but his size, speed and offload mean he is hard to handle.

Roger Tuivasa-Sheck on the fly. (AAP Image/Dave Hunt)
Roger Tuivasa-Sheck on the fly. (AAP Image/Dave Hunt) DAVE HUNT

Tim Lafai (samoa): Big left-foot step, quality off-load and dependable in defense.

Kevin Naiqama (Fiji): Not a flashy winger, but his performances in last year's world cup show he can thrive on the big stage. Plays with a lot of passion.

Gareth Widdop (Eng): One of the best halves in the competition and outstanding goal kicker. Is at his best in broken play and running at tired defenders.

Shaun Johnson (NZ): Electric - there is no better word for him. Whether dancing across field, throwing three-man cut-out passes or taking on a weary defender, Johnson is the real deal. The type of player that puts bums on seats.

Jesse Bromwich (NZ): The big Kiwi has excellent footwork at the line, which allows him to either offload or get a quick play the ball. The best prop in the NRL.

Issac Luke (NZ): Crafty, uncompromising and experienced. Luke has done it all and continues to deliver.

James Graham (Eng): As tough as leather with a deft touch with ball in hand. Sets the standard on and off the field and would no doubt shine in the Origin arena.

Sam Burgess would be a hit in the Origin arena. (Photo by Ian Hitchcock/Getty Images)
Sam Burgess would be a hit in the Origin arena. (Photo by Ian Hitchcock/Getty Images)

Sam Burgess (Eng): Another Englishman born for the Origin style of play. Hits hard in defense and runs as hard as anyone in attack - what more could you want?

Tevita Pangai Junior (Tonga): A young bull on his way up. His form this year can not be questioned and his aggression is suited to Origin football.

Jason Taumololo (Tonga): He is a wrecking ball. A big frame with excellent speed and footwork. The most damaging ball runner in the NRL.


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