We’re nearing the halfway mark of the 2020 NRL competition and a number of Queensland-eligible players have been in fine form for their respective clubs during the opening rounds.
The Queensland Maroons experienced a narrow loss to the New South Wales Blues in State of Origin in 2019, and Maroons coach Kevin Walters will likely be looking to add some punch to the squad for this year’s series.
Below is a list of 10 players, I believe, are in the running for an Origin debut for the Maroons in 2020. Time will tell who gets selected, but keep an eye on these 10.
1. Harry Grant - Wests Tigers
Harry Grant is arguably the form hooker in the competition and is in the running to win the 2020 Dally M Medal. A lot has been spoken about the Maroons hooking role, and with his solid form, Grant has placed himself firmly in the conversation. Grant currently averages the most running metres and tackles of any Queensland-eligible hooking option with 85 running metres and 50 tackles per game.
2. Jake Friend - Sydney Roosters
The veteran No.9 has spent a large part of his career patiently waiting behind Cameron Smith for an opportunity to don maroon. Friend is an experienced leader, having led the Roosters to back-to-back premierships, and would not look out of place in the Maroons No.9 jersey in 2020.
3. Corey Horsburgh - Canberra Raiders*
The young tearaway burst onto the NRL scene last year and has quickly made a name for himself with his tough and aggressive style of play. Horsburgh’s game would be well suited to the Origin arena, and I guarantee if he were selected he would not leave anything out on the park. Horsburgh is defensively sound currently averaging 91.7 per cent tackle effectiveness in 2020, which is on-par with defensive work-horse and Maroons lock Jai Arrow.
4. Reed Mahoney - Parramatta Eels
The dynamic Parramatta No.9 has been in electrifying form for the Eels during the opening rounds and continues to push his claim for a Maroons jersey in 2020. Mahoney is a strong all-round hooker with great service, a strong running game, and a handy little short-kicking game out of dummy half. Mahoney currently averages more kicking metres than any Queensland-eligible hooker, aside from Ben Hunt who has mostly played in the halves.
5. Kyle Feldt - North Queensland Cowboys
The leading try-scorer in the NRL, Feldt has long been a consistent performer for the Cowboys, and is on the verge of a representative debut in 2020. If Feldt continues his try-scoring form for the remainder of the season, you can guarantee his name will be in the conversation come October/November.
6. Lindsay Collins - Sydney Roosters
The 24-year-old Roosters forward has been in career best form for his club in 2020, and has dramatically increased his workload. Collins has averaged 139 metres each game over the first nine rounds of the competition. In comparison, Josh Papalii and Josh McGuire are the only Maroons front-row incumbents who have averaged more metres than Collins this season.
7. Kurt Mann - Newcastle Knights
Newcastle five-eighth Kurt Mann has been in scintillating form for the Knights with four tries and five try assists. Mann would be a great option at centre or in a utility role for the Maroons with his versatility and ability to play multiple positions, similar to Michael Morgan and Moses Mbye.
8. Tino Fa'asuamaleaui - Melbourne Storm
Storm 107kg wrecking ball Tino Fa’asuamaleaui has been an absolute beast for the club in 2020. The 20-year-old would be hard to handle coming off the bench for Maroons late in the game with his raw size, speed and tackle-busting ability. Despite only averaging 39 minutes per game, Fa’asuamaleaui averages a huge 115 running metres and 46 post contact metres per game.
9. Josh Kerr - St George Illawarra Dragons
Josh Kerr is another huge young forward who is making a name for himself in the NRL competition in 2020. Kerr has been a huge asset for the Dragons coming off the bench late in the half and terrorising tired opposition forwards. Kerr always gives 100 per cent on the field and would not look out of place in a Maroons jersey. Similar to Fa’asuamaleaui, averaging 38 minutes per game, Kerr has maintained a high work rate in attack with 99 running metres and 38 post contact metres per game.
10. Pat Carrigan - Brisbane Broncos
The young Brisbane forward has been plying his trade with the Broncos and excelling. The 20-year-old has shown he has a huge motor, averaging 143 metres and 45 tackles per game in 2020. Pat Carrigan has already been tipped as a future leader for the Broncos, having co-captained the side earlier this year, and would be a solid inclusion for the Maroons if selected.
Thomas Mikaele, Jaydn Su’a, Ronaldo Mulitalo, Thomas Flegler, Kurt Capwell* and AJ Brimson*
*Denotes injured player