Origin Knockout: Round 1 (NSW, Part 2)
The Holden State of Origin series is as big as ever, and to celebrate NRL.com is asking fans to name their favourite Origin player of the century so far.
We've selected 64 players – 32 from each state – who have played Origin since 2000 and pitted them against each other in a knockout tournament, and you'll decide which players advance through each round.
Here's the second batch of eight match-ups featuring some of the Blues' best. Make your votes for who should survive to Round 2.
Brad Fittler v Luke Bailey
Brad Fittler: One of rugby league's modern greats, Fittler is the most capped NSW Origin player of all time with 31 appearances – with eight of those coming since 2000. He captained his state 14 times, and the award for the Blues' player of the series is named in his honour. Fittler did just about everything during his league career, winning premierships at Penrith and the Roosters, leading his state and country and even coming out of retirement to score a sensational long-range intercept try in last year's Auckland Nines.
Luke Bailey: Bailey made a quick impression on the Origin stage, starting at prop in all three games of his debut series in 2002 and taking man-of-the-match honours in the opening game of the 2003 series. He went on to represent his state 15 times during his time with the Dragons and Titans in the NRL.
Craig Wing v Anthony Watmough
Craig Wing: A dynamic playmaker with the Rabbitohs and Roosters, where he won a premiership from halfback in 2002, Wing made his impact at rep level as an impact utility off the bench. With a dozen Origin appearances and 17 matches for Australia, Wing provided the spark for NSW throughout their three-year winning run from 2003 to 2005 and was still a member of the Blues side in his final year in the NRL in 2009.
Anthony Watmough: Watmough has played 14 Origin games over the past decade, starting back in 2005. A two-time Dally M Second-Rower of the Year, Watmough produced arguably his best Origin performance with a man-of-the-match effort to deny Queensland a clean sweep in the final game of the 2009 series. With 14 matches under his belt he was one of NSW's most experienced campaigners in their drought-breaking series win last year.
Mark Gasnier v Matt Cooper
Mark Gasnier: A brilliant ball-runner and one of the most gifted centres of his generation, Gasnier played a dozen Origin games – despite being dropped for off-field reasons in his first year with the Blues and spending a couple of seasons in French rugby during his career. Won his first couple of series in Blues colours and helped the Dragons to their drought-ending premiership in 2010.
Matt Cooper: One half of a superb centre partnership at club level with Mark Gasnier, 243-game Dragons veteran Cooper also paired up with Gasnier for the Blues, debuting together among six NSW rookies in the 2004 decider as the Blues clinched the series in Phil Gould's last game as coach. Renowned for his terrific defensive game, Cooper went on to play 13 Origins and scored eight tries in seven Test matches.
Ryan Girdler v Michael Jennings
Ryan Girdler: A 10-match Blues player and one of the most popular players in the game during his career, the sharpshooting centre broke the record for most points in a State of Origin game with a hat-trick and 10 goals in a huge 32-point haul as New South Wales completed an emphatic series sweep in 2000.
Michael Jennings: A centre renowned for his speed and evasiveness, Jennings has also emerged as one of the Blues' key defenders against a star-studded Queensland backline in recent years. Once plucked from NSW Cup side Windsor Wolves to play for his state, Jennings has gone from strength to strength since leaving the Panthers for the Roosters and is now an established presence for the Blues and Australia.
Jarryd Hayne v Matt King
Jarryd Hayne: A three-time Brad Fittler Medal-winner as NSW's player of the series, Jarryd Hayne has played 20 times for his state – progressing from a mercurial winger to a star fullback at Origin level. No stranger to the spotlight, Hayne's Origin highlights include a superb chip-and-chase solo try on debut in 2007, a controversial disallowed try after a sensational run down the sideline in 2009, and a match-winning performances for the Blues in Orgin I last year.
Matt King: The inaugural winner of the Brad Fittler Medal as NSW's best player in his debut Origin series, the mop-topped speedster scored six tries in nine Origin matches between 2005 and 2007 before leaving the NRL for the English Super League.
Brett Morris v Josh Morris
Brett Morris: Now a regular alongside his twin at club, state and international level when fit, Brett Morris has been a regular on the wing for the Blues since 2010 – often being the only genuine specialist winger in either side. His Origin highlight was arguably the Blues' Game One win last year, injuring his shoulder while scoring an early try but playing on and making a crucial try-saving tackle in the dying minutes on Darius Boyd.
Josh Morris: Josh Morris when from being dumped to the NSW Cup by the Bulldogs in 2011 to being the man tasked with stopping Greg Inglis at State of Origin level a year later – a task he has thrived in in recent seasons. Morris has only missed on Origin match since his return to the side, being one of the Blues' strongest defenders in that time and chipping with three tries as well.
Nathan Hindmarsh v Bryan Fletcher
Nathan Hindmarsh: One of the most popular players of the modern era – winning the Provan Summons medal as the fans' plays of the year a staggering five times – Hindmarsh played 17 Origins for the Blues over a decade from 2001 to 2010, plus 23 Test matches for Australia. The first player in history to make more than 10,000 tackles, the Eels workhorse retired as a one-club man and was a regular fixture in the Blues' successful Origin side of the early 2000s.
Bryan Fletcher: Before he was Hindmarsh's slapstick sidekick on Fox Sports, Fletcher was a star back-rower for the NSW and Australia between 1998 and 2003 – a six-year stretch when Origin as at its most competitive, featuring two Blues series wins, two Maroons wins and two drawn series. The Roosters star turned Rabbitohs skipper did give fans an early sign of his comedy stylings with a starring role in the Blues' sensational "hand grenade" try celebration in 2000.
Ben Kennedy v Steve Simpson
Ben Kennedy: A premiership-winner at Newcastle and a captain at Manly, Kennedy was a hard-running back-rower who played 13 Origins and 16 Tests for Australia, and was a fixture of the Blues' three-year series streak between 2003 and 2005.
Steve Simpson: A tough all-round second-rower whose game translated well to the Origin cauldron and a one-club NRL player with the Newcastle Knights, Simpson played 13 Origins for the Blues between 2002 and 2008 and seven Tests for Australia.