Broncos Origin wipeout
Brisbane’s nightmare year to be reflected in representative selections
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.”