NSW has chosen the sixth-best halves pairing for State of Origin Game 1

Chris Stead 23 May 2016


The NSW State of Origin team for Game 1 2016 has been named and the surprise new halves pairing isn’t the most in-form available.

Last week we compared the year-to-date stats of 13 different potential NSW halves pairings to see who is the most in-form choice for State of Origin 2016. The pairings were ranked across nine key metrics, which ignored previous years to focus just on their current form line. You can see the full breakdown of this data here.

According to our analysis, by far and away the best option would be Josh Reynolds and Mitchell Pearce as the two halves, despite the limited game time of the latter. However, even if Mitchell wasn’t considered due to his off-field troubles, the next best offering was Josh Reynolds and James Maloney, with the latter switching to halfback as Thurston has done previously for Queensland.

The selected pairing of James Maloney and debutant Adam Reynolds came out as the sixth best combination for the NSW State of Origin team based on our analysis, behind a number of other candidates that included incumbent Trent Hodkinson.

The NSW team isn’t without options in the halves, however, and can adapt somewhat during the game if the risky plan doesn’t work for coach Laurie Daley. Debutant Dylan Walker has been named on the bench, and he plays in the halves for Manly. While Greg Bird (Lock) and Matt Moylan (Fullback) also have plenty of experience in the halves if required.

Certainly, however, Josh Reynolds can feel hard done by, proving to be a better halves option than his namesake in two different combinations ahead of the one selected on current form.

Who is in the NSW State of Origin 2016 Game 1 Team?

1. Matt Moylan (Fullback)

2. Josh Mansour (Wing)

3. Michael Jennings (Centre)

4. Josh Dugan (Centre)

5. Blake Ferguson (Wing)

6. James Maloney (Five-Eight)

7. Adam Reynolds (Halfback)

8. Paul Gallen (c) (Front Row)

9. Robbie Farah (Hooker)

10. Aaron Woods (Front Row)

11. Josh Jackson (Back Row)

12. Boyd Cordner (Back Row)

13. Greg Bird (Lock)

14. Andrew Fifita (Reserve)

15. James Tamou (Reserve)

16. David Klemmer (Reserve)

17. Dylan Walker (Reserve)

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