Queenslanders ... Ben Keays and Dayne Zorko of the Lions.
Queenslanders ... Ben Keays and Dayne Zorko of the Lions. Quinn Rooney

Who makes the AFL's State of Origin teams?

QUEENSLAND may be fancied to take out rugby league's State of Origin series, starting on Wednesday, but NSW might just be favoured in its AFL battle with the Maroons.

Of course this is all fantasy stuff, with 'Origin' not having featured on the AFL calender since 1999, despite the fact the code kicked the concept off in 1977. League took it and ran with it in 1980.

But back to 'footy', and while the Sunshine State has benefited from generations of ex-pat Victorians relocating north over the years, the Blues have that rich breeding ground just north of the Murray River to pull their players from.

Whether it's the sun, Queensland continues to produce some mighty big blokes - the state actually has about eight of the 20 tallest players in the league - while NSW's key position stocks are also healthy.

However, it is clear both teams lack that genuine midfield quality, especially the Maroons, particularly with elite Saint David Armitage (groin) sidelined.

For the purpose of this exercise, these sides are based on availability, though we've named a few with minor niggles.

 

Cairns product Jack Bowes has impressed in his debut AFL season.
Cairns product Jack Bowes has impressed in his debut AFL season. Michael Dodge

QUEENSLAND

B: Lee Spurr (Fre), Harris Andrews (BL), Aliir Aliir (Syd).

HB: Jarrod Harbrow (GC), Rory Thompson (GC), Josh Wagner (Melb).

C: Charlie Cameron (Adel), Dayne Beams (BL), Josh Smith (Coll).

HF: Brendan Whitecross (Haw), Nick Riewoldt (SK), Sam Reid (GWS).

F: Kurt Tippett (Syd), Charlie Dixon (PA), Ben Keays (BL).

Foll: Zac Smith (Gee), Alex Sexton (GC), Dayne Zorko (BL).

Int (from): Eric Hipwood (BL), Jack Bowes (GC), Jesse Joyce (GC), Brad Scheer (GC), Braydon Preuss (NM), Lachie Weller (Fre), Tom Bell (BL).

Sidelined: David Armitage (SK), Claye Beams (BL).

 

 

Sydney born and bred Callum Mills is a future Swans captain.
Sydney born and bred Callum Mills is a future Swans captain. DAN HIMBRECHTS

NEW SOUTH WALES

B: Taylor Duryea (Haw), Harrison Himmelberg (GWS), Dane Rampe (Syd).

HB: Zac Williams (GWS), Phil Davis (GWS), Callum Mills (Syd).

C: Issac Smith (Haw), Kieren Jack (Syd), Matt Suckling (WB).

HF: Jake Barrett (BL), Taylor Walker (Adel), Isaac Heeney (Syd).

F: Josh Bruce (SK), Tom Hawkins (Geel), Luke Breust (Haw).

Foll: Jarrod Witts (GC), Jack Steele (SK), Will Langford (Haw).

Int (from): Jarrad McVeigh (Syd), Anthony Miles (Rich), Sam Gilbert (SK), Matthew Kennedy (GWS), Brandon Jack (Syd), Sam Naismith (Syd).

Sidelined: Sam Rowe (Carl), Harry Cunningham (Syd).

 

Eric Hipwood marks the ball over Tyson Goldsack at Melbourne Cricket Ground
Eric Hipwood marks the ball over Tyson Goldsack at Melbourne Cricket Ground Michael Dodge

For NSW, Jack Steele and Isaac Smith headline a midfield group that would need to call upon recently demoted pair Anthony Miles and Will Langford.

For Queensland, Dayne Beams and Dayne Zorko are out and out stars, but the likes of Alex Sexton, Charlie Cameron and Josh Smith would need to step up on-ball.

Things are changing though. The (controversial) northern academies are slowly but surely helping to produce some outstanding ball-winning mids, and supremely skilful flankers.

Think Isaac Heeney and Callum Mills for the Blues, who have comes through Sydney's own nursery. Mills will be a future captain of the Swans, Heeney a superstar.

Then there's Ben Keays and Jack Bowes at the Lions and Suns, respectively. Both are smooth movers, and the future of their clubs and Queensland footy.

It's just the tip of the iceberg.

Six Queenslanders were selected in last year's national draft - Bowes, Declan Watson, Elliot Himmelberg, Jacob Allison, Josh Williams and Brad Scheer.

There was 11 the year before (including seven rookies).

Some are yet to make their mark, but are building.

The Lions and Suns can only take the cream of their academy crops, but what cream it is.

Take Eric Hipwood for example. Only yesterday Brad Johnson wondered "have we got Buddy Franklin of the future?" while Jason Dunstall said the lanky kid from the Sunshine Coast was enough to "get Brisbane Lions fans excited about the future".

It's just going to take time to see the fruits of the state's labour.

News Corp Australia

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