We Choose: The Best of State of Origin
With the State of Origin series done and dusted for another year, NRL.com has sat down and devised our best possible team to come out of the three fixtures. Perhaps Australian coach Tim Sheens could take note for the upcoming Four Nations?
1. Jarryd Hayne (New South Wales)
The Hayne Plane made another mark in the Origin cauldron with three great showings for the Blues. The Eels fullback averaged 152.7 metres per game and scored a crucial try in Origin I to kick-start NSW into life.
2. Brett Morris (New South Wales)
The Dragons winger might have only played one game but what a game it was. Arguably the best winger in the world, Morris's sole appearance, in Origin I, saw him score a try and make a brilliant try-saving tackle on Darius Boyd that will go down in Origin folklore, with a busted shoulder that is still keeping him on the sidelines.
3. Josh Dugan (New South Wales)
Many people were sceptical when it emerged that Josh Dugan was to be the centre replacement for Josh Morris in Origin II. Those fears where assuaged when he managed to keep opposite centre Greg Inglis quiet in Game II before scoring NSW's only try in the series closer.
4. Justin Hodges (Queensland)
He is the man the Blues love to hate but it didn't stop the veteran from proving his class throughout the story. Averaging 129 metres per Origin, Hodges kept busy in the centres and was arguably Queensland's best across the first two games before coming to life in Game III.
5. Darius Boyd (Queensland)
With three tries to his name throughout the series, Newcastle's Darius Boyd became the equal leading try scorer in State of Origin history alongside his centre partner Greg Inglis. The Knights fullback looked right at home on the wing and averaged 104 metres per Origin.
6. Johnathan Thurston (Queensland)
Arguably the hardest position to pick, Thurston gets our vote over Josh Reynolds partly on reputation (plus Reynolds missed a staggering 10 tackles in Game Three) but wouldn't be happy with his series overall. Thurston turned it on late in the final game, and found his kicking radar to boot, as the Maroons ran away with a win.
7. Trent Hodkinson (New South Wales)
The Bulldogs halfback makes the starting team by the skin of his teeth after just beating out Cooper Cronk for the spot after Cronk's outstanding efforts in the Game III dead rubber. Hodkinson's debut Origin series will always be remembered for the fact that he was the man to score the series winning try in Origin II and the crucial conversion afterwards.
8. Paul Gallen (New South Wales)
The New South Wales captain was awarded the Wally Lewis Medal for the best player on the back of his 158.7 metres and 33.7 tackles per game. You couldn't wipe the smile from the man's face when he lifted the Shield high and proud despite the Blues going down in Origin III.
9. Robbie Farah (New South Wales)
The Tigers rake gets the nod for hooker after being among the best three players from either teams. The Blues vice-captain copped some flak recently for suggesting he was on a par with Kangaroos skipper Cam Smith but his creativity out of dummy half and 44 tackles per game had him with his nose in front this series.
10. Nate Myles (Queensland)
With his partner in crime for the Maroons, Matt Scott, missing for most of the series, Myles lifted admirably. The Titans vice-captain was arguably the best Maroons player with awe-inspiring displays throughout the series. The bearded enforcer averaged 125.3 metres and 38.7 tackles per Origin.
11. Beau Scott (New South Wales)
Brutish Beau Scott was the Blues' best in Origin III and a solid contributor throughout the series, particularly in defence with some key try saving tackles. If it weren't for certain injuries or suspensions then perhaps Scott may not have played a part in the series yet the veteran proved to the doubters that he was certainly up to the task.
12. Ryan Hoffman (New South Wales)
Maybe it was because he won't get a better chance to win an Origin series or perhaps he was sick of walking around Melbourne knowing that several of his teammates had one plenty of them but Hoffman's efforts this year – he was players' player and close to man-of-the-match in the Game II series clincher – proved vital in the grand scheme of the series win considering he averaged 111.3 metres per game for the Blues.
13. Corey Parker (Queensland)
Missed Origin II with facial fractures but showed his worth with his man of the match display in the series closer. The Brisbane utility forward punched out 208 metres, 29 tackles and a stunning eight offloads in the Maroons' dominant display.
14. Cooper Cronk (Queensland)
Played about 10 minutes in Game One and missed Game Two but the Melbourne halfback made up for lost time with his influential display in Origin III. Was a rock in defence with only missed one tackle, controlled proceedings brilliantly and put the icing on the cake for the Maroons with a late try to seal the victory and prevent the whitewash.
15. Sam Thaiday (Queensland)
Thaiday, otherwise known as Johnathan Thurston's bodyguard, only played Game II and III but the Brisbane back-rower demonstrated what the Maroons greatly missed in the series opener with his brilliant contributions that saw him average 123.5 metres and 33.5 tackles.
16. Billy Slater (Queensland)
While the incumbent Australian fullback was overshadowed by his Blues counterpart, Slater didn't at all play badly throughout the series. The Melbourne custodian scored a crucial try just after halftime in Game Three and averaged 131.7 metres throughout the series.
17. Aidan Guerra (Queensland)
Possibly the biggest positive for the Maroons, after losing their first campaign since 2005, was the debut series of Aidan Guerra. The Roosters back-rower was a suprise inclusion on the bench in Game I then started in Origin II and III, averaging 85.5 metres and 28 tackles for his troubles. Also scored a crucial try to put Game III out of reach.