Upon consulting the AFL eligibility rules as they were in the 1990’s, to my great surprise I discovered that had I not been chronically under-skilled, I would have been a Queenslander for State of Origin purposes. As a result of this fact, it is my duty to assemble The Mid-Season Allies State of Origin Merit Team for 2019.
Thankfully the task is a little easier than that which confronted Queensland selectors in the 1990’s which saw them select Victorian Roger Merrett to captain the Maroons in a match against the Vics at the Gabba. That said, Queensland team knocked off Victoria that day and so might this side if it ever squared off against them.
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The backline is a genuine strength for this Allies team with Alex Pearce and Harris Andrews in the kind of form that suggests they would be up for the task of locking down the other states key forwards. With the likes of Dane Rampe, Jeremy Howe, Zac Williams and Jarrad Harbrow at their disposal, the rest of the backline would pose genuine headaches for opposition coaches with their creativity and intercept marking.
Gold Coast’s Jarrod Witts will be required to carry the burden in the ruck in this team but the lion hearted big man is more than up for the task. There is some class around him the middle with Dayne Zorko, Jacob Hopper and Jack Steele likely to spend much of the day at his feet and with Isaac Smith and Lachie Weller patrolling the wings.
The strength of The Allies forward line is perhaps best illustrated by the fact that the injured Jack Riewoldt was not considered for selection and Ben Brown was unable to force his way into the side. One of Finley’s finest, Tom Hawkins will be the main focal point for this team, with Taylor Walker another powerful option up front.
The mid and small forward options at The Allies disposal make for mouth watering reading. The opportunistic Charlie Cameron will pose an ever present danger as will the sharp shooters Luke Breust, Isaac Heeny and Alex Sexton.
The Allies bench is stocked with players capable of adding to the midfield rotations and cause headaches up forward too. Expect the likes of Dayne Beams, Callum Mills, Daniel Rioli and Mitch Robinson to have an impact when called upon to do so.
B: Jarrod Harbrow, Alex Pearce , Dane Rampe
HB: Jeremy Howe, Harris Andrews, Zac Williams
C: Isaac Smith, Jack Steele, Lachie Weller
HF: Charlie Cameron, Taylor Walker, Isaac Heeney
F: Alex Sexton, Tom Hawkins, Luke Breust
R: Jarrod Witts, Dayne Zorko, Jacob Hopper
INT: Dayne Beams, Callum Mills, Daniel Rioli, Mitch Robinson