Queensland Origin contenders 2015: The Forwards
Last week we ran the rule over Queensland’s backline contenders, and now it’s time to give the big fellas the same treatment. With Game One now just a month away, here are the men in the frame for a coveted maroon jumper in the engine room.
Matt Scott is a certainty, and despite a slow start to the year Nate Myles should hang on to the other starting spot. Jacob Lillyman has incumbency in his favour and is a strong chance for a bench spot, however he’ll have to hold off strong challenges from the likes of Bronco Josh McGuire and Roosters all-rounder Dylan Napa, who are both pushing hard for an Origin debut. They may only run with one prop on the bench as they like to carry an additional half/utility and most of their back rowers can pinch-hit for a few minutes here and there.
Cam Smith is a certainty, but like the halves the battle for heir apparent is an interesting one. Jake Friend was the man last year but Andrew McCullough can’t be too far behind, especially given Friend’s injury problems this year. Matt Ballin has done the job before as well. But the real ace up Queensland’s sleeve, and a definite contender for a spot on the bench, is Panthers livewire James Segeyaro, who possesses the ability to drastically change the complexion of a game with his quickness and creativity.
The incumbent starting trio of Corey Parker, Sam Thaiday and Aidan Guerra is likely to be retained, although Guerra is racing the clock to recover from a facial injury. Matt Gillett leads a large pack of players fighting for a bench spot, including Josh Papalii, Chris McQueen and uncapped Cowboy Gavin Cooper. Cooper’s teammate Ethan Lowe could be in with a shot after a strong start to the year, with the inconsistent Dave Taylor probably on the outer. Corey Oates is a bolter for the bench given he can cover for the backline, but it be a bit early for him as he’s yet to play big minutes up front on a regular basis.
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Nick Fray, Origin Online