Blues player Josh Dugan runs for the try line in 2015.
Blues player Josh Dugan runs for the try line in 2015. JULIAN SMITH

Winners and losers from Blues Origin team

LAURIE Daley has revealed his NSW team for the State of Origin opener.

As always there's a couple of surprise inclusions and a couple of baffling omissions from the Blues squad.

So which players were stiff to miss out, and who was lucky to get a gig?

We run through the winners and losers.

WINNERS

Josh Dugan

He hasn't played a game since fracturing his cheekbone representing Australia earlier this month, which put his Origin selection in doubt.

But having timed his recovery to perfection, Daley simply couldn't leave Dugan out of the side.

He was on track to be man of the match in the Anzac Test before picking up the injury early in the second half, and he's a proven destructive right centre.

One of the best ball runners in the game and defensively solid.

Jarryd Hayne

He was one of the stars of the 2014 Origin series - the last time NSW won the shield - but Hayne's jaunts overseas to play American football and then rugby sevens mean he hasn't donned the Blues jumper for three years.

His form for the Titans early in the season was up and down, casting doubt over his return to the Origin cauldron.

But Hayne's most recent matches have been enough to convince Daley the inconsistent star still has the X-factor NSW needs.

 

NSW Blues player Brett Morris scores a try in game one of the 2014 State of Origin series.
NSW Blues player Brett Morris scores a try in game one of the 2014 State of Origin series. DAN PELED

Brett Morris

If Tom Trbojevic hadn't injured his ankle a fortnight ago, B Moz wouldn't be in the side.

But that's not to say the veteran doesn't deserve his spot on the NSW wing.

Having played a dozen Origin games already for his state, and given the form he's been in for Canterbury, he was the obvious replacement for young Turbo.

His heroics in 2014 helped NSW break the drought, and Daley knows what he's getting with Morris on a flank.

Mitchell Pearce

Welcome back to Origin, Mitchell Pearce.

This selection will divide NSW fans, some of whom continue to blame Pearce for the state's woes over the past decade.

But they can't question his form at club level for the Roosters this season. He had to be picked, plain and simple.

After ruling himself out of last year's series on the back of a seven-game suspension, Pearce will make his first NSW appearance since 2015.

 

Titans player Nathan Peats.
Titans player Nathan Peats. DAVE HUNT

Nathan Peats

The Gold Coast hooker will make his Origin debut, and it's been earned with sustained form at NRL level.

True, if not for Peter Wallace falling over at the weekend Peats may still be waiting in the wings.

But as the best No.9 NSW has to offer under the age of 30, an Origin call-up was inevitable.

Jake Trbojevic

Having already donned the green and gold of Australia, it would have been a slap in the face if the young forward had been overlooked by Daley.

He's impressed on the international stage and now he has the chance to do it at interstate level.

Trbojevic has the ability to play big minutes and is a tackling machine. A future NSW captain, perhaps?

LOSERS

 

Paul Vaughan of the Dragons.
Paul Vaughan of the Dragons. DAVID ROWLAND

Paul Vaughan

Perhaps the most mind-boggling exclusion from Laurie Daley's NSW selection.

Vaughan is one of the in-form players in the NRL - not just in the forwards - and a lot of people were backing him to make his Origin debut.

He is averaging a whopping 147 run metres per game for the Dragons, and his last two appearances have reaped 175 and 198 metres for his club.

He couldn't have done much more to earn selection.

James Tamou

He's played 14 of the past 15 Origin games and been an institution in the NSW forward pack since 2012.

But Tamou's form for Penrith just couldn't be ignored, not with the number of forwards banging down the door for a Blues spot.

He's averaging 106 metres per game for the Panthers compared to the 129 and 135 he averaged the two seasons previous for North Queensland.

 

Matt Moylan of the NSW Blues in last year's series.
Matt Moylan of the NSW Blues in last year's series. DAN PELED

Matt Moylan

He's probably one injury away from earning a spot in the side but Daley simply couldn't find a spot for Moylan for game one.

He can slot in at fullback, five-eighth or as a bench utility but isn't seen as the best NSW player in any of those positions.

He'll be next in line behind both No.1 James Tedesco and bench-warmer Jack Bird, and probably the next five-eighth after James Maloney.

Peter Wallace

The veteran playmaker was all set to break his eight-year State of Origin drought, usurping Robbie Farah as the NSW hooker.

It took a groin injury in the last game before selection to rob him of the No.9 jersey.

It's rotten luck for a guy who's arguably been the form hooker in the state for the past 12 months.

And it more than likely means Wallace's Origin career is over.

 

Blues player Robbie Farah in the 2015 State of Origin.
Blues player Robbie Farah in the 2015 State of Origin. JULIAN SMITH

Robbie Farah

He's been the NSW hooker, on and off, since inheriting the No.9 jumper from Danny Buderus in 2009.

But he's almost certainly played his last game in the sky blue.

Laurie Daley picked Farah last year despite the well-publicised drama at Wests Tigers, and even committed to picking him out of reserve grade if need be.

Farah's form for new club South Sydney hasn't been terrible but he has at times had to be content with a spot on the bench as he shares minutes with Damien Cook.

In the end, it may have been that factor that convinced Daley to look elsewhere.

Michael Jennings

He's been NSW's left centre for the past five Origin series but his Blues career is most likely over.

The return of Jarryd Hayne was a nail in the coffin but the likes of Dylan Walker and Jack Bird have also seemingly risen above Jennings in the pecking order.

 

Shannon Boyd of the Raiders.
Shannon Boyd of the Raiders. DEAN LEWINS

Shannon Boyd

Another to have represented Australia before his state, Boyd remains on the cusp of playing State of Origin football.

He's the kind of big, angry forward that would fit right in at Origin level but at the moment there's too many good props for NSW to pick from.

Boyd is only averaging 82 metres a game this year and other forwards are preferred.

Trent Merrin

He played 13 of 15 Origin games leading into last year's series but lost his spot and hasn't found the form to win it back.

Merrin had a slow start to the season for Penrith and despite better form over the last month, simply hasn't been good enough to warrant his return to a sky blue jersey, despite his selection in the Kangaroos side in both last year's Four Nations and the Anzac Test this month.

With a plethora of young back-rowers banging down the door for a Blues jumper, Merrin will have to force his way back into the side.

News Corp Australia

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