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Blues Frankenstein: The NSW stars who make monster of a player

Imagine if you could cherry-pick the best attributes from 40 years of State of Origin to fuse together the ultimate Blues player, Frankenstein-style.

Fans have their chance to come up with the Ultimate Origin Player using the best aspects of players from each state by clicking here. NRL.com will announce the fan-voted Origin Frankenstein, fittingly, on Friday the 13th of November.

NRL.com and Stats Perform have been cooking up the data in their lab to see what the stats say should be the Ultimate Blues Origin Player. The Maroons Frankenstein has also risen from the slab in the lab.

Enter to win a Hisense Bar Fridge after creating your Origin Frankenstein

Using information from four decades of interstate rivalry, NRL.com has built a rugby league monster from parts of nine NSW legends.

Here's how it was assembled and who made the cut to form this all-round monster of a player that would give any Maroons opponent nightmares.

Blues Frankenstein

Right foot: Ricky Stuart

Notables: Andrew Johns, Peter Sterling, Brett Kimmorley

The current Raiders head coach was also one of Origin's best halfbacks and his rocket-powered right boot launched the Steeden further than anyone else in NSW history. Yes, he did so with the aid of a couple of "kicking duels" but Sticky finished up with 8,741 kick metres in his 14 games at a remarkable 624 metres gained per match – far more per game than any other Blue.

Ricky Stuart launches a kick in 1993.
Ricky Stuart launches a kick in 1993. ©NRL Photos

Joey finished with almost as many metres (8625) but from nine more games, gaining 375 per match. From there it's a fair drop to the likes of Peter Sterling (4448 at 342), Brett Kimmorley (3384 at 338), Chris Mortimer (2866 at 318) and Mitchell Pearce (5732 at 302).

Left foot: James Maloney

Notables: Ryan Girdler, Craig Fitzgibbon, Andrew Johns, Rod Wishart, Mick O'Connor

Most of our best goal kicking options were right footers but luckily our theoretical Frankenstein can put its goal-kicking ability in either leg.

It may surprise many to learn Maloney finished his Origin career as the Blues' most reliable kicker ahead of the likes of Andrew Johns, Ryan Girdler and Michael O'Connor.

Maloney's 31 goals (in 10 games) are the third-most for the Blues but he kicked them at 81.6%. O'Connor still holds the records for most goals with 42, and booted one of the most memorable in Origin history, from the sideline in driving rain, to square the 1991 Origin series.

However his career success rate of just 60%, and that of Andrew Johns (37 goals at 65%) both trail Maloney's comfortably.

James Maloney takes a kick at goal for the Blues.
James Maloney takes a kick at goal for the Blues. ©Keegan Carroll/NRL Photos

Left leg (line breaks): Michael O'Connor

Notables: Andrew Ettingshausen, Jarryd Hayne, Brett Kenny, Garry Jack

When he wasn't nailing sideline conversions to win games, dual international Mick O'Connor was busy being the most dangerous running centre in NSW Origin history with a stunning 22 line breaks in 19 matches.

Current Blues fullback James Tedesco (11 breaks in 10 games) is the only other Blue to so far maintain a rate over one per game for NSW, with attacking maestros Andrew Ettingshausen (19 in 27 games), Jarryd Hayne (17 in 23) and Brett Kenny (14 in 17) trailing O'Connor's efforts out wide where he didn't miss a game from his 1985 debut to his 1991 swansong.

Michael O'Connor tries to fend off Willie Carne in 1991.
Michael O'Connor tries to fend off Willie Carne in 1991. ©NRL Photos

Right leg (run metres): Paul Gallen

Notables: Paul Harragon, Glenn Lazarus, Brad Clyde

Love him or hate him, there's no denying the 'G-Train' loved churning through the metres like no-one's business.

Gallen's Origin career may have been short on series wins in the face of the most dominant squad ever assembled but the Cronulla stalwart never stopped trying, racking up 414 carries in his 24 games – almost 100 more than the next best for NSW, Paul Harragon with 331.

Former NSW skipper Paul Gallen.
Former NSW skipper Paul Gallen. ©NRL Photos

Gallen's 3457 metres at 144 per game  has been pipped at the post for most total metres in Blues history by former Parramatta star Jarryd Hayne (3482 in 23 games at 151) but backs haven't been considered here due to the extra space they have to work in, with middle forwards rarely getting more than a couple of metres before hitting contact.

Gallen holds out a strong field that includes Knights legend Paul Harragon (2484 at 124 per game), Greg Bird (2114 at 117) and Glenn Lazarus (2074 at 109) to add the leg drive to our NSW Frankenstein.

Left arm (tackle breaks): James Tedesco

Notables: Jarryd Hayne, Garry Jack, Brad Fittler, Andrew Ettingshausen

There have been no shortage of prolific tackle busters over the years for the Blues, with Jarryd Hayne's huge fend unlucky to miss out having busted the most tackles in Blues history with 115 in 23 games at five per match.

But for sheer tackle-busting ferocity we can't go past Tedesco, who not only holds the Origin record for most ever busts in a game with 17 in game one of the 2018 series, his rate of 6.9 busts per match (69 in 10 games) is unparalleled in Blues history.

Blues etch their own miracle try into Origin folklore

Garry Jack (110 at 6.5 per match) also makes a strong case while Andrew Ettingshausen (104 at 3.9) and Tim Brasher (93 at 4.4 per game) fill out the legacy of hard-running Blues fullbacks.

Right arm (offloads): Wayne Pearce

Notables: Paul McGregor, Brett Kenny, Bryan Fletcher, Steve Roach, Noel Cleal

Our Blues Frankenstein needs to a be game-breaker so adding in a potent offload is vital. The list of top offloaders is dominated by pre-2000s players before the wrestle and structure of the modern game made the play harder and more risky.

Top of the pops for NSW is hard-working captain Wayne Pearce, who may not be widely remembered as a prolific offloader but whose 51 offloads in 15 games at 3.4 per match makes him easily the best for the Blues.

Wayne Pearce led NSW with distinction in the 1980s.
Wayne Pearce led NSW with distinction in the 1980s. ©NRL Photos

Long-serving skipper Brad Fittler is the only NSW player with more but his 63 came in 31 games at two per game.

Paul McGregor (44 at 3.1), Brett Kenny (42 at 2.5) and Steve Roach (41 at 2.4) also loved slipping an offload away but none can match Pearce in this department.

Torso (work rate): Brad Clyde

Notables: Paul Gallen, Paul Harragon, Glenn Lazarus, Craig Fitzgibbon, Brad Fittler

There are any number of Blues legends who had the motor to fill this spot, from Gallen to Harragon to Craig Fitzgibbon or even Brad Fittler and Laurie Daley.

Bradley Clyde scores for NSW in 1992.
Bradley Clyde scores for NSW in 1992. ©NRL Photos

But we've given the spot to Raiders lock Brad Clyde, who revolutionised the way a No.13 played the game.

Clyde's 12 Origins netted almost 30 tackles per match and over 140 run metres, with an average of one offload and three busts per game.

If you include the two Super League Origins he played in 1997 his win rate in sky blue is 64%, with nine wins from 14 matches.

Head (try assists): Andrew Johns

Notables: Brad Fittler, James Maloney, James Tedesco, Brett Kenny

The playmaking department is another area where the Blues have no shortage of brilliance, and while current coach Brad Fittler shares the record for most assists in NSW history, his long term playmaking partner Andrew Johns achieved the same figure from fewer games.

Joey racked up 16 assists in 23 matches despite having to play five of those at hooker and two off the bench.

No player could tear a match apart in a 15-minute burst the way Johns did off the bench in 2000 while his triumphant return from injury in his final series in 2005 to win the series is the stuff of folklore.

Andrew Johns tries to get around Shaun Berrigan.
Andrew Johns tries to get around Shaun Berrigan. ©NRL Photos

Shoulders (tackles): Robbie Farah

Notables: Paul Gallen, Nathan Hindmarsh, Craig Fitzgibbon, Steve Menzies, Paul Harragon

Hooker Robbie Farah racked up the second-most tackles in Blues history in his 16 games with 709 – eight fewer matches than Gallen played for his 754.

Farah holds the record for the most tackles in any Origin match ever, with 61 in game two of 2012, and comes in third on that list as well with 58 on game one of 2015, with two more efforts of 51.

Robbie Farah looks to make a break for the Blues.
Robbie Farah looks to make a break for the Blues. ©NRL Photos

Farah's effective rate of 93.5% is among the best in Blues history among players with over 100 tackles as well.

Other standouts in this category are Fitzgibbon (34.7 tackles per game at 93.2%), Nathan Hindmarsh (33.1 per game at 92%) and current tackling machine Jake Trbojevic (30 per game at 93.7%).

 

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