The future of Origin looks bright on both sides of the border.
State of Origin is on the verge of another shift. For the first time in eight years, the Origin shield is heading down to Sydney. The Queensland dynasty has come to an end, and while many other teams may come close, it is highly unlikely their record will ever be surpassed. A team filled with future Immortals, the current Maroons will go down as the greatest Origin team of all time. But the NSW Blues also have an aging roster. Paul Gallen could well be on his last legs and Robbie Farah isn’t getting any younger.
For Queensland, the future looks very bright. Go back ten years and you would've predicted the likes of Billy Slater, Greg Inglis, Cooper Cronk and Cameron Smith were destined for greatness. The same can be said for the next generation coming through. Daly Cherry-Evans is one of the future halves, that we can be sure of, and with Ben Hunt on the verge of an Origin debut in Game II, it looks like we have found the other. With both preferring halfback at club level, who will play where is up to selectors. Anthony Milford is almost certain to succeed Slater in the custodian role. Proving he is a game changer at fullback for the Raiders, he can provide the x-factor for the Maroons, if given a chance. Josh McGuire has been afforded the ultimate compliment from Blues captain Gallen, who believes the 24 year-old is ready for the Origin arena. To make up the rest is like fishing in a bowl, but the one thing is certain - Origin is alive and well as far as the future is concerned.
With the series already won, it is time for the future stars of NSW to emerge. Trent Hodkinson and Josh Reynolds look to have the halves locked down, and Jarryd Hayne is still relatively young at 26 years of age. But most of the rest are at the back-end of their careers. Farah, Greg Bird, Ryan Hoffman and Anthony Watmough have only a few more years left, if that, and we may have seen the last of Luke Lewis in a sky blue jumper. So who would you put in? Josh Jackson from the Bulldogs is a future Origin player, no doubt about it. Jack Wighton and Wade Graham were both called into Origin camp as emergency cover. But the big question is who will replace Farah? Nathan Peats was touted as a possible Origin bolter, if Farah was unavailable for Game I. However, a knee injury has cut Peats' season short. But the biggest bolter in a few years could be Apisai Koroisau. The young Fijian has bolted on the scene for the Bunnies in the absence of Isaac Luke. He is fast up the middle and dangerous around lazy defenders - qualities an Origin hooker must have. Only time will tell how the Blues look to the future, but it is safe to say the Maroons will have a challenge on their hands.
Possible Origin line-ups in 2018:
UBET State of Origin 2015 First Try Scorer Match Up
||Jarryd Hayne (c)
||Daly Cherry-Evans (c)