Peter Sterling picks his NSW Origin lineup
With one weekend remaining before the teams are announced for State of Origin I, NRL.com asked New South Wales Origin legend Peter Sterling to name his preferred 17-man Blues squad.
Here's the team Sterling would choose if he was the sole NSW selector.
Fullback – Michael Gordon (Panthers)
It's obviously difficult to overlook both Josh Dugan and Jarryd Hayne, but quite simply Gordon is the most consistent fullback I’ve seen this season and I believe it is his best position. He was blooded last year in Origin and has the added bonus of being an outstanding goal-kicker.
Left Winger – Brett Morris (Dragons)
Left Centre – Josh Morris (Bulldogs)
Morris has also been there before and has looked good for the 'Dogs since coming back from injury. He has already played alongside brother Brett at Test level.
Right Centre – Mark Gasnier (Dragons)
Right Winger – Akuila Uate (Knights)
Five-eighth – Jamie Soward (Dragons)
Pending injury concerns, Soward has earned his spot as Blues pivot.
Halfback – Mitchell Pearce (Roosters)
Pearce and Soward would complement each other nicely in the halves, and the superb left-foot/right-foot kicking combination is a huge attraction.
Front Row – Kade Snowden (Sharks)
Hooker – Michael Ennis (Bulldogs)
Ennis gets the nod over Farah for the hooker role, and is covered by Dean Young off the bench.
Front Row – Michael Weyman (Dragons)
Weyman is almost the forgotten man for New South Wales, but is very good at getting the ball forward and has a quick play-the-ball for such a big unit.
Second Row – Beau Scott (Dragons)
Second Row – Ben Creagh (Dragons)
Lock – Paul Gallen (Sharks) (captain)
Dean Young (Dragons) – The versatility of the Dragon allows him to be used as a dummy-half, a running forward and even as a possible first receiver. An absolute Origin type.
Jamal Idris (Bulldogs) – Is in my side on the assumption that regular utility Kurt Gidley is unavailable. Idris provides plenty of impact off the bench either in the centres or in the back row.
Tim Mannah (Eels)
Keith Galloway (Tigers) – I like the different body types of Galloway and Mannah in the prop rotation, and their respective clubs play their best football off the back of these two individuals.
Peter Sterling's NSW Origin squad
1. Michael Gordon
2. Brett Morris
3. Mark Gasnier
4. Josh Morris
5. Akuila Uate
6. Jamie Soward (pending fitness)
7. Mitchell Pearce
8. Kade Snowden
9. Michael Ennis
10. Michael Weyman
11. Beau Scott
12. Ben Creagh
13. Paul Gallen (capt)
14. Dean Young
15. Jamal Idris (assuming Kurt Gidley unavailable)
16. Tim Mannah
17. Keith Galloway
Tune in to NRL.com at 5pm this Sunday for full, live coverage and analysis of the NSW Origin team announcement for game one.