Tasked with the job of selecting a West Australian State of Origin side was always going to be fun and it was. Initially there was squad of forty and narrowed it down to 22 and three emergencies. It’s a good side and some players very unlucky to miss out but given they have no idea who I am, or a fat rats clacker about my opinion, they will get over it. The team has been picked based on 2019 form year to date and so Alex Rance misses out despite being one of the best full backs ever, anywhere.
Backs – Jeremy McGovern is the first picked here, the intercept king with the dad bod, who reads the play like Sir John Gielgud reads Shakespeare. Then we build around him. Jason Johanissen and Brad Sheppard flank McGovern giving hardness, reliability and dash. Surely Shannon Hurn is an honorary West Australian by now as he would sit in there beautifully and take the (c).
Aliir Aliir has been stunning for Sydney and while he’d prefer to play a bit higher than get stuck on the last line he has to be picked. Daniel Rich and Nathan Wilson complete a backline which provides dash, skill and great drive. Matt DeBoer, Aaron Naughton can provide cover if required
Mids – wow, take a look. Fyfe, Cripps (changing off HF) and Elliot Yeo are big bodies with huge clearance numbers who can play inside or outside but with Tim Kelly, Jeager O’Meara and Stephen Coniglio giving outside run it’s the big butts who will do the heavy lifting. It’s hard to see any opposition mids getting near the ball. Skills, grunt and silky delivery will see Josh Kennedy and Lance Franklin drowning in inside 50 ball. Walters, Duncan and DeBoer to cover here. Fyfe gets the captaincy ahead of Elliot Yeo who surely must soon feature in the Eagles leadership group.
One curiosity from WA is the lack of a stand out ruckman. But with Natanui and Sandilands yet to make an appearance this year, the ruck duties fall to Rory Lobb and Paddy Ryder. That’s a pretty solid backup. Lobb has been building this year. He’s a rig and super fit and showed this in his stand out game when he at worst broke even with Brody Grundy in the Dockers win over Collingwood. Ryder has given Port a good change up with Scott Lycett and Ryder always presents a problem when he goes forward.
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Forwards – the tough one here is whether or not Jack Darling gets a run but unless they’re playing in the middle of Flemington Racecourse, there is just no room for Darling, Kennedy and Franklin and the latter two pick themselves. Cripps and Walters will move through the mids giving Yeo, Fyfe and Coniglio time forward. Cripps and Fyfe are the taller midfielders and provide enough height for the third tall and are both viable marking options. Liam Ryan gets a run because everything he does is fun to watch and Brandon Matera has kicked a few bags this year as the small forward and opportunist.
Interchange – Mitch Duncan is having a stand out season with the top of the ladder Cats should be a starting midfielder – except, have you seen the midfield? Matt DeBoer has put so many guns out of commission this year they call him John Howard. Aaron Naughton has been exciting in the forward line with the Bulldogs. We love a big leap and one grab and he’s done a bit of that this year. He also provides tall cover for the backs.
Finally in a day where no team will play two specialist rucks, Paddy Ryder gives that dual forward ruck role which is so important to team balance.
Emergencies – in trying to pick a proper side with balance, I just can’t fit Brad Hill in, I can’t believe I’m saying that. Jack Darling makes the forwards top heavy so he has to watch. Sam Powell-Pepper is a hard mid for Port and misses out only due to midfield numbers.
A couple of other mentions – aka in the squad: We’ve loved Cam Zurhaar’s work, looking forward to seeing him build up a body of work. Tiger Sydney Stack has shown some glimpses for the Tigers but his hit on Jack Viney was outstanding. More to come. I had to put Matt Parker’s name there, just because of where he has come from.
Just looking at the side makes me wish State of Origin football would come back. I’ll stack this up against any team from Victoria or South Australia. Let’s see what we can come up with in the next State of Origin selection.
|Backs:||Daniel Rich||Aliir Aliir||Nathan Wilson|
|Half Backs:||Jason Johannisen
||Jeremy McGovern||Brad Sheppard|
||Stephen Coniglio||Elliot Yeo (vc)||Tim Kelly|
|Nat Fyfe (c)||Rory Lobb||Jaeager O’Mera|
|Half Forwards:||Patrick Cripps||Lance Franklin||Michael Walters|
|Forwards:||Liam Ryan||Josh Kennedy||Brandon Matera|
||Mitch Duncan||Aaron Naughton||Paddy Ryder
|Emergencies:||Brad Hill||Jack Darling
Brisbane: Daniel Rich
Carlton: Sam Petrevski-Seton, Patrick Cripps, Mitch McGovern
Collingwood: Chris Mayne
Essendon: Cale Hooker
Fremantle: Brandon Matera, Nat Fyfe, Brad Hill, Michael Walters, Nathan Wilson, Rory Lobb
Geelong: Jordan Clark, Tim Kelly, Mitch Duncan
Gold Coast: Jack Martin
GWS: Stephen Coniglio, Matt DeBoer
Hawthorn: Jaeger O’Meara, Ben Stratton
North Melbourne: Cameron Zurhaar
Port Adelaide: Sam Powell-Pepper, Paddy Ryder,
Richmond: Sydney Stack, Liam Baker
St Kilda: Blake Acres, Matt Parker
Sydney: Lance Franklin, Aliir Aliir
West Coast Eagles: Liam Ryan, Brad Sheppard, Elliot Yeo, Josh Kennedy, Jack Darling, Jeremy McGovern,
Western Bulldogs: Tim English, Jason Johannisen, Aaron Naughton