The Courier-Mail

Bron­cos Ori­gin wipe­out

Bris­bane’s night­mare year to be re­flected in rep­re­sen­ta­tive se­lec­tions

- ROBERT CRADDOCK CHRIS HONNERY Sports · Denver Broncos · Darren Lockyer · Israel Folau · New South Wales · Dallas Cowboys · Tennessee Titans · David Fifita · Kevin Walters · Sam Thaiday

THE Bron­cos are set for their low­est State of Ori­gin rep­re­sen­ta­tion as an in­evitable con­se­quence of their night­mare form slump.

David Fi­fita is the only Bronco all but cer­tain to be se­lected for Queens­land in the three-match se­ries in Novem­ber, where coach Kevin Wal­ters has ar­guably the most chal­leng­ing Ori­gin as­sign­ment of his five-year ten­ure.

The pre­vi­ous low­est num­ber of Bron­cos con­test­ing a full Ori­gin se­ries for Queens­land, apart from the Su­per League era, is three – Dar­ren Lock­yer, Is­rael Fo­lau and Sam Thai­day – in 2010.

The Bron­cos’ Ori­gin num­bers could be en­hanced if Payne Haas and Ko­toni Staggs are cho­sen for NSW.

While Joe Ofa­hen­gaue has played two Ori­gin matches, his form this sea­son has been be­neath his best and he will strug­gle to ap­pear for the Ma­roons this year.

Wal­ters said at the start of the sea­son he was watch­ing young for­wards Pat Car­ri­gan and Tom Fle­gler closely.

Both have had some bright spots in a bleak win­ter but would be do­ing well to crack an Ori­gin berth.

It is likely the un­usual endof-sea­son for­mat will prompt Queens­land to choose an ex­panded 24-man squad which will be trimmed through­out the se­ries.

That none of the three Queens­land teams are likely to make the fi­nals is a chal­lenge for Wal­ters, who will need to keep play­ers from the Bron­cos, Cow­boys and Titans in con­di­tion for a month be­fore the se­ries.

For­mer State of Ori­gin fullback Gary Belcher be­lieves the Ma­roons should con­sider hold­ing tri­als against each other during the fi­nals to keep their play­ers fit and sharp.

“They had tri­als like that in the 1980s, and Kevvie might have to look at them again during the fi­nals se­ries,” he said. “Maybe pos­si­bles ver­sus prob­a­bles, or some­thing like that. It will be like be­ing in the train-on squad for the Kan­ga­roo tour. Queens­land might have to be cre­ative this year.

“The first prob­lem this year is that month of fi­nals with the Queens­land teams prob­a­bly miss­ing them. We are go­ing to have a scratchy side.

“It will be a very lean year for Bron­cos rep­re­sen­ta­tion.”

 ??  ?? David Fi­fita (left) and Payne Haas are likely Ori­gin starters.
David Fi­fita (left) and Payne Haas are likely Ori­gin starters.

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