Blues' right edge: NRL.com experts have their say

The Blues are favourites to win back-to-back State of Origin series, but they're not without their selection headaches with incumbent right edge stars Tom Trbojevic injured and James Roberts dropped by the Broncos this week.

The NRL.com experts have their say on who should play right wing and right centre for NSW this year.

NRL.com's experts view

Michael Chammas (NRL.com chief reporter)

Clint Gutherson can play anywhere in the backline and has built up a rapport with Blake Ferguson in the opening two months of the season. The Blues could do worse than pick Gutherson at right centre and have Ferguson outside him.

Steve Renouf (Maroons great)

I think Blake Ferguson's form has been outstanding this year on the wing and he deserves a spot. At right centre with James Roberts dropping down the pecking order Jesse Ramien has got the goods to fit in.

Brett Kimmorley (Former Kangaroos halfback)

If Josh Addo-Carr can play right wing I would bring in Daniel Tupou in to play outside of Latrell Mitchell on the left. Then we can keep the whole left edge of the Roosters playing together – at the moment that's the best left edge in the competition. The player I'd bring in to play right centre is Jack Bird, he's done it before and is a big-game player. If Addo-Carr is kept on the left, I'd bring in Blake Ferguson to play outside of Bird.

Jamie Soward (Former Blues five-eighth)

Clint Gutherson and Blake Ferguson. Gutherson's a natural footballer, can do the dirty work at the start of sets and has a club combination with Ferguson - who is easily the most in-form right winger available.

Margie McDonald (NRL.com senior reporter)

Jack Bird and Blake Ferguson. Jack Bird payed right centre in Cronulla's 2016 grand final win, he's played for NSW and last weekend he had 13 tackle breaks against the Rabbitohs. Blake Ferguson has lost nothing of his powers in switching clubs. He's big, bold, always looking for work and scores tries willy-nilly.

Tony Webeck (NRL.com reporter)

I'm a firm believer that you pick your best 17 for Origin and find a place for them. In that respect, with Latrell and Josh Addo-Carr on the left, I'm picking two form players in Jack Bird and Blake Ferguson to partner up on the right.

Alicia Newton (NRL.com reporter)

I expect James Roberts to keep his spot but I like the idea of Joey Leilua finally getting a crack on the right edge if the Blues need to look elsewhere. Leilua has toned down his usual erratic ways at the Raiders this season and on his day is one of the most powerful centres in the game. Ferguson should be a shoe-in for the right wing spot assuming Trbojevic isn't fit. He's in a good place off the paddock, his form speaks for itself and he will be hungry to finally win a series.

Brett Keeble (NRL.com reporter)

Jack Bird and Blake Ferguson. Both have played Origin before and have won premierships in the past three years, so they know how to perform on the big stage. Bird is in a struggling Brisbane team but would benefit from being surrounded by quality players. Ferguson has been one of the NRL's most consistent wingers for 18 months and would not be the first, or last, player forgiven for past off-field sins because of what they offer on the field.

Maria Tsialis (Big League editor)

Jack Bird and Nick Cotric. Though the Broncos have struggled with form this year, Bird has continually been one of the stand-out players and wouldn't let anyone down in a Blues jersey. Cotric can play on the right and I'd love to see his speed and agility on the rep footy stage. There should be plenty of points between them.

Paul Suttor (NRL.com editor)

Joey Leilua has been rightly brushed by Blues selectors in recent years because he's been flashy without being a consistent performer but this time around he deserves selection on the right edge and even though he usually plays on Canberra's left flank, Nick Cotric is built for Origin - both in stamina and chiselled physique - and should run out alongside his Raiders teammate on the right edge for NSW on June 5.

Corey Rosser (NRL.com reporter)

Blake Ferguson​ and Jack Bird. They've been among the NRL's best in their positions this year and always put their hand up when a tough carry is needed. While Bird is a specialist left centre for Brisbane, he's played all over the park in his career and wouldn't be fazed by a switch to the right.

Lone Scout (NRL Fantasy expert)

Form-wise it's hard to look past Blake Ferguson on the right wing, especially considering Ferguson has been on the Origin stage before, while Jack Bird's experience gives him an edge over the very promising Jesse Ramien at right centre.

Jonathan Healy (NRL.com reporter)

Eels veteran Blake Ferguson is back in form this season and he looms as the perfect replacement on the right wing for Tom Trbojevic. As tempting as it may be to rush Zac Lomax in at right centre, Joey Leilua might be the best bet this season to take James Roberts' place. Leilua is flying and so are the Raiders and he has all the makings of a quality Origin player.

Mary Konstantopoulos (Ladies Who League)

James Roberts may be out of favour at the Broncos at the moment, but he still makes my State of Origin team given how explosive he can be in attack and based on his contribution to the team last year. Blake Ferguson plays alongside him as right wing and has rightfully earned an Origin recall with the exceptional form he has been in for the Parramatta Eels.

Chris Kennedy (NRL.com reporter)

Jack Bird and Blake Ferguson. Both have played Origin before and won grand finals and know what it takes to win big games. Ferguson has obviously had issues in the past but if Brad Fittler is prepared to give him another go there is no question he is the in-form right winger in the competition. Bird I think has been playing strongly in a team that looks lost structurally and would flourish in the current Blues set-up.

Brad Walter (NRL.com senior reporter)

Mitchell Aubusson and Blake Ferguson. As part of the Sydney Roosters right edge combination in last year's grand final, Aubusson and Ferguson have a good understanding of defending together and both are in top form. Aubusson has played right centre for the Roosters this season and does a good job wherever he plays, while Ferguson has had a significant impact at Parramatta this season.

Kenny Scott (NRL.com podcaster)

Brad Fittler will (and should) stick to the players that have done it before. This means when Roberts comes back he will be picked regardless of his form, which is a shame as the door was slightly ajar for Jarrod Croker to finally get his call-up and give fans the ‘hard work pays off' feel-good story we all love. Over on the wing, fans in tune with Freddy's generation next philosophy can only hope he stays true to course. If this is the case it will be hard for him to go past Nick Cotric, signalling that NSW has moved on the from the core team of the last 10 years and is firmly focused on the future.

Tanisha Stanton (NRL.com reporter)

Blake Ferguson deserves a recall into the Blues’ line-up – his presence on the field has been a vital element in the Eels’ success early season success. Fittler could also call upon Jarrod Croker for the right centre spot. He adds another option for kicking and you can’t overlook his consistency.