$14 million side of injured stars who could win Origin

Scott Bailey |

Cameron Munster is among a host of injured stars unavailable for Origin I.
Cameron Munster is among a host of injured stars unavailable for Origin I.

Brian To’o reckons there is one team that could challenge both the NSW and Queensland’ State of Origin outfits.

A side worth an estimated $14.67 million, that has a combined 87 Origins to their name with two Dally M Medals, three Clive Chuchills and two Wally Lewis Medals.

The only problem: None of them are fit to play in Wednesday night’s series opener.

This year’s Origin series is by far the most decimated by injury in the concept’s 34-year history.

An AAP dream team of injured players from both states tells the story.

Kalyn Ponga lines up at fullback, Cameron Munster and Nathan Cleary are in the halves while the likes of Tom Trbojevic, Tino Fa’asuamaleaui, Tom Flegler and Cameron Murray also feature.

So strong is the team, the man selected at No.1 for the Blues at the start of last week Dylan Edwards, can’t even find a spot.

“Man, the halves. The back five are all guns,” NSW winger To’o told AAP.

“This side would be absolute guns. One hundred 100 per cent they would win games. That’s such a decent side. It depends on the coach how many they’d win.

“But it just shows, it’s one of those years. It started alright but, as we’ve got closer to Origin, injuries just keep happening.”

Hamstring problems account for three of the unavailable players in the team, while there are two season-ending knee injuries.

The NRL remain adamant that the issue does not stem from increased speed of play or intensity, hopeful the number of injuries will flatten out later in the season. 

NSW are the most impacted, with 12 of the 18 selected eligible for the Blues this year.

They include the likes of Trbojevic, Bradman Best, Cleary, Cameron Murray and Connor Watson who were all set to be picked by Michael Maguire for Game I.

Queensland are also without almost automatic selections in Ponga, Munster, Fa’asuamaleaui, Flegler and Tom Gilbert. 

“That is such a quality side, it would absolutely compete,” Blues second-rower Liam Martin said.

“There’s so much quality there. The injuries have been a lot. But I’m sure the series will still be okay. Both sides will rip in.”

Maroons centre Valentine Holmes is adamant though that Queensland would still have the injured team covered, and is not surprised by the number of ailments.

“That’s a pretty stacked side. But this (Queensland) team beats them,” Holmes said.

“The game has gotten faster, I think we average around 9km a game. the turnarounds, the travel.

“It’s crazy. I remember at Magic Round seeing all the guys that weren’t there.”

AAP’S INJURED DREAM TEAM: Kalyn Ponga, Tom Trbojevic, Kotoni Staggs, Bradman Best, Campbell Graham, Cameron Munster, Nathan Cleary, Tom Flegler, Wayde Egan, Tino Fa’asuamaleaui, Kurt Capewell, Tom Gilbert, Cameron Murray. Bench: Ryan Papenhuyzen, Tevita Tatola, Toby Rudolf, Ryan Matterson. 18th man: Connor Watson.

* All players unavailable on weekend State of Origin teams were named.

AAP