Origin bolters galore as two legends give their bold early picks for NSW and Queensland packs

Origin legends Mark Spudd Carroll and Billy Moore have named four debutants and recalled some veterans in their forward packs and benches for NSW and Queensland as the countdown to the 2024 series begins.

Both Carroll and Moore had a number of smokeys in their teams with NSW looking to halt Queensland’s dominance of three series wins in the last four years.

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“It’s that time of the year again and I know you guys love it. To talk about Origin footy,” Braith Anasta said on NRL 360.

“Both of you have been working hard all day on this. We’ve asked you to provide us with your pack for NSW and Queensland.”

Carroll named three debutants and recalled an ageing Manly veteran in his NSW team.

“I’ve got Payne Haas, No. 1 prop in the world,” Carroll said.

“We’ve got Api Koroisau. He’s got the Penrith combination I’ll come back there.

“Taniela Paseka, he deserves his opportunity to debut for New South Wales.

“Haumole Olakau’atu, I reckon he deserves his debut. He’s amazing.

“Liam Martin, Penrith combination. Isaah Yeo, they’re both workaholics.

“Then Cameron McInnes, I love him. He’s old Scarface. He’s purpose built for Origin. I love when he smiles with that one tooth missing.

“We’ve got Cameron Murray. Every side needs a Cameron Murray.

“But look at this one there at the bottom. Nathan Brown. I call him the energiser man. Double D batteries.

“Put them where you’ve got to put them. He runs from the back fence. He hurts people for fun. And he’s been in great form.

“The thing about “Madge” (NSW coach Michael Maguire), he wants players in form and there’s a form side.

“I only played seven games, but I know what Origin takes and that’s exactly what it takes.”

Moore took issue with Carroll’s lack of a prop on the Blues bench, which sparked debate.

“There’s no front-rower on the bench is that all right?” Moore asked.

“What do you mean? What’s Brown?” Carroll shot back.

“A back-rower,” Moore replied.

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“No, he’s not have you seen the size of him?” Carroll said.

“The game has changed. The big boppers, he’s a workaholic.

“He averages 15 hit-ups off the bench. Just worry about your own side.”

“Billy what have you got for us. What’s the Queensland pack?” Anasta asked.

Moore went with mainly players Billy Slater has used in the last couple of seasons, even allowing for injuries to key stars, but the last position on the bench is between a smokey from Melbourne and a forgotten star from the Dragons.

“There’s been a few injuries,” Moore said.

“There’s no Tino. There’s no Tommy Gilbert, but this is my team. Thomas Flegler has been in good form for the Dolphins.

“Ben Hunt is getting better and better with age. Reuben Cotter is a smaller front rower, but can play that Jake Trbojevic style.

“David Fifita. He’s the X-factor in the back row. And he’s been going good for the Gold Coast. I know they’re 0-5, but Fifita has been damaging.

“Jeremiah Nanai just knows where to be. We talk about Isaah Yeo. He’s rewritten how to play 13. He plays a certain style.

“Patrick Carrigan plays the other. He’s the high work rate through the middle. His numbers every week are phenomenal.

“Harry Grant is the utility. Lindsay Collins and Moeaki Fotuaika. And 17, the next two weeks will decide because they’re both in career best form. Young Trent Loiero, who’s playing for the 13 for the storm. And Jaydn Su’A.

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“He was almost a forgotten man, but this year, he’s rediscovered something for the Dragons.

“So those two blokes are battling it out for the next two weeks.”

Anasta noted Loiero was a shock selection, but Moore explained his reasoning.

“I think Su’A is probably just ahead in my books. But yeah, that’s a good pack. You’ve done well there, Billy,” Anasta said.

“Loiero is a bit of a smokey.”

“He is but what I have watched him do and the way he has improved from last year to this year, he’s one of those guys that he’s on the way up, and if you gave him a chance,” Moore said.

Originally published as Origin bolters galore as two legends give their bold early picks for both packs

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