Revealed: Lone Scout's Origin Dream Team
Toyota Origin Dream Team is here, combining the most addictive rugby league game around with the pinnacle of the sport, State of Origin, for the first time.
Origin is the best of the best, a gruelling series in which legends are made. It's a different beast from the regular NRL season – the game is faster, the hits are harder, and every tackle, mistake, and try matters.
That's what makes it a perfect fit for Dream Team, the game that puts you in control of your own squad and rewards you depending on how your players perform out on the field.
While Toyota NRL Dream Team gives you the job of picking a 25-man squad from across the league while staying under a salary cap, Origin Dream Team is far simpler.
Pick a six-man lineup from the NSW Blues or Queensland Maroons sides: one winger/fullback, one centre, one half, one back-rower, one front-rower, and one hooker.
No salary cap, and no limit on which team your players come from. Passionate canetoads can pick six Maroons, and die-hard cockroaches can pick half a dozen Blues, or you can choose any combination of each.
There are unlimited trades between Origin matches, so you can pick completely new lineups for each of the three games.
It's free to play, and the winner will take home $3000.
So who will I be picking for Origin I?
At the back, it's hard to go past reigning Dally M winner Billy Slater. With Queensland going into Game One as healthy favourites and fullbacks generally getting more involved than wingers, Slater's my choice to score plenty through run metres, tackle breaks and maybe the odd try. The NSW trio of Akuila Uate, Brett Stewart and Jarryd Hayne shouldn't be written off though, with all three boasting terrific running games.
In the centres, Greg Inglis is the man. In sensational form for the Rabbitohs this season, Inglis is a noted performer at Origin level and will cause headaches for the Blues' defenders all night.
The halves are a bit of a lottery – all four players on the park can score and set up tries, and do plenty of kicking in general play. But I'll take Todd Carney over Johnathan Thurston, Cooper Cronk and Mitchell Pearce. Carney has been in great touch for the Sharks, should get a fair share of the kicking duties and will kick goals for the Blues. He's a slightly safer bet than Thurston, who finished last year's series with the most errors and missed tackles of any player.
Paul Gallen's my front row forward, and captain – meaning he will score triple points. The Blues skipper set new standards for endurance in his first run out as a prop last year, and there's no reason to think he won't make a mountain of hit-ups and tackles again in 2012.
Queensland's Sam Thaiday gets the nod in the second row, as an 80-minute player who is gets plenty of work done in defence and is capable of busting tackles in attack.
And Cameron Smith is my hooker. Plays 80 minutes, makes a huge number of tackles, runs the ball out of dummy half, and lays on plenty of tries close to the line. He gets the nod as vice captain, meaning double points.
So, which six players will you pick? My team may include some obvious choices, but remember that one or two dark horses may be the big scorers – Darius Boyd could break out of his form funk and score a hat-trick, Ashley Harrison could make 60 tackles, or Josh Morris could make a dozen tackle breaks.
So get cracking, sign up for free if you're not a Dream Team player already, and pick your lineup – you can change your team as many times before the big game kicks off next Wednesday night. Who knows, I might make a few changes to my team before the big night arrives.
Playing Toyota NRL Dream Team this year?
Remember you can manage your fantasy team and get live scores on your mobile, via our FREE mobile site, or by downloading the FREE iPhone app or Android app.
Not involved? It’s not too late to sign up and challenge for $80,000 worth of prizes. Register here and start beating your mates!