NSW penpix for State of Origin I

NSW penpix ahead of next Wednesday’s opening State of Origin rugby league match against Queensland at ANZ Stadium.

Fullback – Matt Moylan

Age: 24 Origins: Debut

The inclusion of ball-playing Moylan will make NSW a more formidable attacking outfit, but he can expect a fierce examination under the high ball from Cooper Cronk and Johnathan Thurston.

Wing – Josh Mansour

Age: 25 Origins: Debut

A big, bulky, tackle-busting winger whose running game is made for Origin. However he does have some defensive frailties.

Centre – Michael Jennings

Age: 28 Origins:15

With long-term Maroons rival Justin Hodges now retired, veteran Jennings could really own the left edge for NSW.

Centre – Josh Dugan

Age: 26 Origins: 9

Has had little success at centre at club level this year but deserves his spot on toughness alone. His No.1 priority will be to stop Greg Inglis.

Wing – Blake Ferguson

Age: 23 Origins: 1

Returns to Origin after his sole appearance in 2013. His combination with good mate Dugan in both attack and defence on the right edge for NSW is crucial.

Five-eighth – James Maloney

Age: 29 Origins: 3

Earns a deserved return to Origin for the first time since 2013. No doubt Maloney can lay on some points for NSW, but there are big questions marks over his defence which was exploited by Queensland last time.

Halfback – Adam Reynolds

Age: 25 Origins: Debut

Finally gets his chance to play Origin. Reynolds possesses the best kicking game in the NRL and it will need to be spot on if NSW are to get past Queensland in game one.

Prop – Aaron Woods

Age: 25 Origins: 8

Woods has proved he belongs at Origin level. Has recovered well from an early season ankle injury and is a key plank in the Blues’ go-forward.

Hooker – Robbie Farah

Age: 32 Origins: 13

Missed game three last year due to a broken hand and the lop-sided result showed how vital senior figure Farah is to this Blues side.

Prop – Paul Gallen (capt)

Age: 34 Origins: 21

The longtime skipper is playing his final series and would dearly love to go out a winner. To do that NSW have to win game one. Gallen will start at prop and later move to the backrow.

Second row – Boyd Cordner

Age: 23 Origins: 5

Will be given the task of protecting former Roosters teammate James Maloney in defence. Loves making the hard yards in attack.

Second row – Josh Jackson

Age: 25 Origins: 3

Tackle, tackle, tackle, tackle, tackle, tackle. That’s what Jackson will be asked to do.

Lock – Greg Bird

Age: 31 Origins: 15

Returns to Origin after missing all of last year’s series due to suspension. Loves the confrontation of Origin but will need to ensure he controls his aggression.

Interchange:

James Tamou

Age: 27 Origins: 11

One of the form props in the NRL. His impact from the bench will be vital for the Blues.

David Klemmer

Age: 22 Origins: 3

Klemmer emerged as an Origin player of note when he stood up to the Queensland pack in NSW’s win in game two last year. Brings great aggression but can expect to be a marked man.

Dylan Walker

Age: 21 Origins: Debut

A curious selection given his underwhelming club form for Manly. Chosen as a utility who can play anywhere in the backline. Uncertain how he will be used by coach Laurie Daley if the Blues don’t strike injury trouble.

Tyson Frizell

Age: 24 Origins: Debut

Earns a chance to play Origin after staking a strong claim over the last two seasons. His offload could be useful in prising apart the Queensland defence late in each half.

* All Offers and Promotions posted in this article excludes NSW residents.
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