NRL.com experts pick their Origin player of the series

The NRL.com experts have their say on who should have been Origin player of the series after Billy Slater was a controversial selection for the 2018 Wally Lewis Medal.

Jamie Soward (Former Blues five-eighth) NSW forward Jake Trbojevic came on and changed the game in games one and two and was a standout for me in game three.

Michael Chammas (NRL.com chief reporter) Blues fullback James Tedesco put in one of the greatest Origin performances by a fullback in game one at the MCG and was close to his team's best in the other two games.

Chris Kennedy (NRL.com reporter) For consistency across three games and influence over the result I can't go past Damien Cook but could also make a case for any of Tom and Jake Trbojevic, James Tedesco and Boyd Cordner.

Andrew Voss (Fox Sports commentator) I thought Damien Cook, James Tedesco, Tom Trbojevic, Cameron Munster would have all been prime contenders. I will nominate Damien Cook.

Alicia Newton (NRL.com reporter) Has to be James Tedesco – he topped the tackle breaks (25), line-break assists (3), post-contact metres and kick return metres. Billy Slater never came near it.

Paul Suttor (NRL.com editor) It has to be a Blues player and Damien Cook was a difference maker with his speed out of dummy-half creating the impetus for the likes of James Tedesco and James Maloney to keep the Maroons backpedalling.

Joel Gould (NRL.com reporter) NSW fullback James Tedesco scored two tries in the first and last games of the series, made a brilliant cover tackle on Kalyn Ponga at the death in the second and was a constant threat in attack where his energy, elusiveness and speed ensured the Blues made the most of the opportunities the forwards created.

Mary Konstantopoulos (Ladies Who League) NSW fullback James Tedesco confirmed in this series he is the Blues' long-term fullback option. He looked threatening in every game and created plenty of chances in attack and was best on ground in Origin I, scoring the first try and busting the Queensland line on several occasions.

Dan Walsh (NRL.com reporter) Blues hooker Damien Cook. He had more influence around the ruck than any other player and that's where NSW won it. He tackled himself silly too.

David Piepers (Big League editor) Roosters star James Tedesco's kick-returns were crucial to the Blues maintaining momentum, he ran further than any other New South Welshman, scored two tries, set up two more, made more tackle breaks than anyone else, put his teammates into space and was consistently reliable at the back. Relentless all series.

Peter Jolly (NRL.com reporter) NSW skipper Boyd Cordner would have been my man of the series after his solid performances throughout the 2018 campaign.

Neil Cadigan (NRL.com reporter) Maroons fullback Billy Slater was among the best two players on the field in two games, while that could not have been said of any Blues player – James Maloney very good for two games; James Tedesco great in one, good in two others; Damien Cook great in one, good in another; Boyd Cordner very good in all three; Addo-Carr excellent in two; Tom Trbojevic and Valentine Holmes (four tries) good in all three. So, Bill still gets the nod from me if voting 4-3-2-1.

Scott Hazlewood (NRL.com reporter) NSW fullback James Tedesco should have been given the Wally Lewis Medal through his statistical feats and impact on the game across the entire series.

Dylan Morris (NRL.com reporter) For his game-breaking runs, which were way too much for Queensland to handle, James Tedesco was the star of the series.

Katie Brown (NRL.com reporter) Rabbitohs rake Damien Cook was brilliant - so much speed in attack and a workhorse in defence. Great team player

Brad Walter (NRL.com senior reporter) Manly workhorse Jake Trbojevic played the most minutes of any NSW forward, was tireless in defence, creative in attack and the player credited for inspiring his teammates to hang on in Origin II and win the series after James Roberts was sin-binned.

Zac Bailey (NRL.com reporter) Blues hooker Damien Cook sparked the Blues' attack and was a key reason why they won the forward battle. He was one of their best in all three games.

Margie McDonald (NRL.com senior reporter) NSW playmaker James Maloney should have got the medal because he is a crafty but calm half and they win Origin matches. The NSW No.6 was Darren Lockyer/Wally Lewis like in controlling things beautifully games one and two.

Hayley Byrnes (NRL.com reporter) Blues fullback James Tedesco was lightning fast across the ground when he was stopping tries or scoring them. His goal-line defence was superb.

Tanisha Stanton (NRL.com reporter) Man of the series should have been awarded Damien Cook - every time he had the ball in his hands he looked potent and the Blues created strong attacking plays off the back of his line breaks.

Andrew Marmont (NRL.com reporter) Because he led the way for NSW all series, Blues skipper Boyd Cordner should have won the Wally Lewis Medal.

 

The views in this article do not necessarily express the opinions of the NRL, ARLC, NRL clubs or state associations.