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Renouf: The five NSW players Maroons don't want to face

When you play State of Origin footy there are always players you just don't like lining up against and you wish weren't in the opposite team.  

In my Queensland career I didn't look forward to playing Paul McGregor and Brad Fittler. They were always a handful and spent a lot of time on my side of the field. They were big game performers for NSW.

Here are five players who are yet to play State of Origin footy or left out last year, that I reckon the Maroons won't want to face on June 5 at Suncorp Stadium.

Luke Keary

Keary is a great playmaker. I'd say he's the best in the world right now.  He's one of the smaller halves getting around but that didn't worry guys like Allan Langer or Geoff Toovey.

Keary is tough like those two were and I love the way he directs the Roosters around, even though he has Cooper Cronk beside him he still is a dominant figure in that team. He is playing behind a really good pack and thriving, and he will do that for NSW as well.

He's got every skill but what is so important is that he is strong in the head. He's won two grand finals and the Clive Churchill Medal last year. The big occasions are the ones that he seems to thrive in so he won't be daunted by the Origin arena.

He will be in the running for Dally M player of the year so all-up he's going to be very hard for Freddy Fittler to leave out. I know NSW won with James Maloney and Nathan Cleary, but the Maroons won't want to see Keary in the Blues line-up.

Eels winger Blake Ferguson
Eels winger Blake Ferguson ©Nathan Hopkins/NRL Photos

Blake Ferguson

Ferguson is a confident individual and a big body. We've seen how dominant he has been for the Eels this year already with his carries to start off sets.

He is an imposing figure and does the job on the wing that Wendell Sailor once did for the Broncos and Maroons. He has got a spring in his step since going to Parramatta. He’s in red-hot form and performed well for NSW in the past.

Tom Trbojevic may be missing for the Blues but Freddy has a ready-made replacement with Ferguson. The metres he makes are just phenomenal and in tandem with James Tedesco and Josh Addo-Car would give the Blues a dynamic back three.

Victor Radley

If I was a NSW selector Radley is a guy I would want in there. Queensland won't want to see him in the Blues team. He made it clear from the moment he debuted for the Roosters what a tough customer he is with his defence.

The Maroons once had Tonie Carroll and he was a guy opponents just didn't want to run at. Radley has shown that same defensive clout time and time again. He really whacks, and that is what you want in Origin.

Radley always give you 100 per cent and he has shown his versatility at hooker for the Roosters as well as his natural spot at lock. I have seen him play at pivot for the Roosters so he's good with the ball, which you need in Origin.

Rabbitohs lock Cameron Murray
Rabbitohs lock Cameron Murray ©Gregg Porteous/NRL Photos

Cameron Murray

I'm sure Wayne Bennett is enjoying coaching Murray this year. He is one of those players who does all the little things well. Watching from afar he seems like a young player whose attention to detail is second to none.

I had a look at his stats for this year and Murray is averaging over 140 metres per game. He breaks tackles and plays the ball quickly and gives his side real momentum. He’s also making 30-odd tackles each match. He rarely misses.

Murray has captained the NSW under-20s side and looks like a future representative leader. He's only just turned 22 so I am certain he will have a long rep career ahead of him.

Murray fulfils his role at lock, is tough with it, and he’s mobile. He'd handle Origin. He is like Radley in that he is a genuine footballer. There is an intelligence about his footy that really impresses me.

Cody Walker

Sometimes there are players in the NRL who are late bloomers and when they get their chance they show what they are really made of. Cody Walker is one of those.

He has a great ability to create tries and score them himself. He has a bit of size about him and likes to back himself and have a crack, which I love. He did that when he played for Easts Tigers in Brisbane but he has really developed since then and has been playing the house down this year.

He picks his mark of when to run, and you'd love to be a centre running off him as well. He plays what is in front of him and Wayne Bennett allows him to do that.

I've seen him advance his play under Wayne and I reckon he could go to the next level and fire for the Blues if Freddy calls on him.

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

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