This year it took a bloody Bushfire to get the Big V back, but this column’s been on this case for years. So, whether common sense prevails and we see Origin back next summer again, or not, here are the teams we’d pick from 2020.
So a couple of things up front then let’s just get into it. Firstly, unlike the All-Australian team, these teams are picked to play. We are picking a team for each of the three states through the lens of winning a legitimate game of State of Origin football next February, not simply be representative.. Therefore decisions where a proven veteran who may have dropped off slightly in 2020 versus a kid on the rise, when it comes to the crunch, you may still chose the veteran.
Secondly, yeah, South Australia will look crap, but whilst its not a comparable position stay tuned for the NRL State of Origin in November. So many of us have grown up with Queensland dominating that comp, but this year its feasible to see NSW not only win its third series in a row, but utterly crush it. Some states, be it Queensland or South Australia if we come back to footy, can ebb and flow, golden generations, etc.
But if you are a proud South Aussie feeling a bit sheepish about your hypothetical chances against Victoria or WA right now, fear not, the core of this team is all young talent, and especially when you look at the horrendous lack of tall forwards right now, there’s two key forward guns in this year’s draft and both of them are already doing well at SANFL senior level, so there’s help on the way.
It’s not that long ago this team would have had Ricciuto, Goodwin, Cooney, Griffen, Gibbs, Tredera, Pavlich, Cornes – its not like its a state that can’t trouble Victoria, just not now.
Either way, Victoria is outstandingly good, Western Australia is still punching above its weight and a game between these two would be a ring dinger. Very hard to leave midfielders of quality out for Victoria, bit of a change of the guard for the Big V backline as well and went with tried and trued up forward.
WA’s forward line is elite, Rory Lobb keeps his spot because of the role he can play as a foil to Kennedy and Darling but in being the back up to Nic Nat in the middle. Sam Menegola is rewarded for too good a year as well. Meanwhile, Jake Lloyd is stiff for the Vics, but Lachie Whitfield to good to leave out instead.
And yes, SA, well, the backline isn’t too bad actually off the back of Port’s year, the middle has an elite ruckman and the soon-to-be Brownlow medalist, but the depth is lacking.