It is time to look at your Origin Dream Team for the second game, should you make wholesale changes or are you happy with the team you have?
Remember, these players are the best of the best Australia has to offer. They are also quite handy in the Dream Team world, meaning there is not much separating each player. A few points could be the difference between success and failure in the battle between your mates.
It's not Thaiday
First things first; if you have Sam Thaiday – get rid of him. Slammin Sam has been ruled out of the game with a shoulder injury. What does this mean? Corey Parker will come into the squad and play off the bench.
Be warned – while Parker is an NRL DT gun that won’t equate to big points in Origin. At the Broncos he plays 80 minutes and kicks goals, he won’t do either on Wednesday night. Parker will probably play under 20 minutes at ANZ Stadium, so be careful if you are thinking of picking him.
Farah rakes it in
Robbie Farah take a bow. The much maligned Farah stuck it up his critics with a strong performance and in Dream Team land was the best performer from Origin I. He didn’t even play the whole 80 minutes but still managed to beat the next best player by five points!!
Coach Ricky Stuart has put his faith in the Wests Tigers rake, who is now set to play the whole match, with the Blues not naming a utility on the bench. Can he outscore Cam Smith two games in a row? Playing at ANZ Stadium in front of a sea of blue, you wouldn’t put it past him.
This decision could make or break your campaign. Farah had a lot of success running from dummy-half, if you think the Blues will get a roll-on, pick Farah. If you think slippery conditions at ANZ Stadium are more suited to the gigantic Maroons pack, pick Smith. This is probably the toughest decision facing Dream Team players.
Gallen locked in
The other interesting point for Dream Team players is that Paul Gallen has moved from prop to his more accustomed lock position.
What does this change? To be honest, the number on Gallen’s back is irrelevant. He plays tight in the middle of the field and will make just as many runs either way.
There has again been talk of a knee injury that has stopped him training with the squad, but this is captain courageous we are talking about. We all remember what he did last time he had the chance to lead the Blues in Sydney and I expect him to have a similar contribution this time around.
With four forwards on the NSW bench, there is an outside chance Ricky Stuart might interchange him at some point, but can you really imagine him getting the tap on the shoulder? It would take a tank to force Gallen from the field.
The only reason not to pick Gallen, would be if you think he is going to try too-hard. Sound strange? Gallen likes to spin in the tackle, muscle an arm free and pop an offload, this can mean big points, but there is the chance he could make a few errors under pressure. When a few points makes all the difference, these plays will be crucial in the overall rankings.
Boyd by Game One
Darius Boyd went into the game under intense scrutiny and had question marks about his form for Newcastle, he promptly responded with two tries and the equal second highest Dream Team score.
Can he do it again?
Queensland attacked the left edge to great success in Game One, you would imagine they will return to what was successful for them in Game Two. If NSW can’t fix their right side defence, Boyd will score more tries and could be a shrewd choice on the wing.
If Michael Jennings hadn’t had that brain-snap in the opening contest, he could conceivably have been the best on ground Dream Team player. Jennings was docked 5 points for being sin-binned – but crucially – spent 10 minutes off the field. He still managed to finish fifth overall on 48 points!
He’s not your typical Dream Team gun, but if you want to roll the dice, he could be your man. If NSW win, you expect Jennings to score well.
Slated for a big performance
Slater made a few uncharacteristic mistakes in the opening contest. It won’t happen again. The Storm fullback was back to his best against the Warriors – almost as if he had a point to prove. Be warned – he rarely has two ‘quiet’ games and could be in for a massive score.
It’s your team, do what you like
The beauty of Dream Team is that it is your team. You can take advice from anyone, but at the end of the day – you run the show. There are over 30,000 players in this Origin Dream Team Competition, so don’t be afraid to be different and take a few gambles on your team selection. Sometimes, they just might pay off big.
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