The perfect Maroons team based on stats
If the SuperCoach stats don't lie, this should be the Queensland team announced for State of Origin Game One, writes our in-house expert The Mastermind.
These are the best performing Queenslanders in every position after the opening 10 rounds of the NRL season and it's a little worrying to say only six mighty Maroons are averaging more than 60 SuperCoach points per game.
Kalyn Ponga is the form fullback with a five-round average of 89PPG.
Cameron Munster is behind only Cody Walker and Kalyn Ponga at five-eigth with 72.5PPG.
Daly Cherry-Evans (71.9PPG) is the top performing halfback by almost 10PPG.
Jai Arrow is getting through a mountain of work for the Titans averaging 67PPG.
In the hooker position the two top rated Queenslanders won't be pulling on a jersey.
Cameron Smith 65.6PPG has retired from representative duties and Jake Friend 62.3PPG is injured.
That leaves the position wide open for Parramatta youngster Reed Mahoney (56.9PPG) to make his debut. I expect selectors will go with Ben Hunt, but for the purposes of our experiment let's put players in the position they're playing in.
Proven Origin campaigners Will Chambers 33PPG and Dane Gagai 42.3PPG will likely be the Maroons centres, but at the moment much more unfancied players are outperforming them.
Chambers is not even in the top 10 Queenslanders in the CTW position and is playing 20 PPG worse than he's been in previous years.
It's a similar situation in the backrow where Origin regulars have suffered a massive drop off in form this year. Felise Kaufusi has dropped from 60.4PPG to 50PPG; Coen Hess has gone from 58.5PPG to 43.4PPG; and Matt Gillett has failed to return to his mid-60s form of previous years with an average of 47.9PPG.
We've scoured the list of the QRL's eligible Queenslanders to make sure nobody misses out. https://www.qrl.com.au/eligible-players/
Here's who should be pulling on a Maroon jersey this year according to the SuperCoach stats.
1. KALYN PONGA
The form player of the NRL since moving back to fullback after the Knights attempt to switch him to five-eighth failed. Ponga has averaged 87.7PPG since that move with an amazing six tries, 11 line breaks, four try assists and 32 tackle busts. He's also a very good goal kicker landing 37 from 45 at 82.2%.
2. COREY OATES
Nine tries and 11 line breaks in 10 games make the Broncos winger Queensland's best in the CTW position. In fact it's his best ever SuperCoach season. He's had 39 tackle busts and his powerful runs can get Queensland on the front foot. Just hope he doesn't have one of those games when the mistakes start flowing. He had four errors in Round 3 against the Dragons and five in Round 8 against the Rabbitohs.
3. JUSTIN O'NEILL
It seems a long time ago that the Cowboy was a Queensland and Australian representative but he's well and truly turned it around with his best SuperCoach season ever. He's had seven tries and four line breaks in seven games this season. In the two previous seasons he had three tries in 38 games.
4. DALE COPLEY
If you ditch the 1 point game against the Tigers when he went off injured early in the game, he's actually averaging 54.2PPG. Copley has had five tries, six line breaks and two try assists in seven games for the Titans. It's his best SuperCoach season ever.
5. BRENDAN ELLIOT
He's filled in at fullback admirably with Tom Trbojevic out for Manly and has a five-round average of 53.4. He's had five line breaks, eight line break assists and 29 tackle busts in nine games. Showing good form after locking down a starting role at his fourth club in five years.
6. CAMERON MUNSTER
His last outing at Suncorp Stadium was 159 points against the Eels in Magic Round. Let's hope for another showing like that in Origin. Munster is leading the Dally M leaderboard and having his best SuperCoach season yet with the Storm attacking play all going through him. He's had five tries, nine try assists, five line breaks, 16 line break assists and 26 tackle busts in 10 games.
7. DALY CHERRY-EVANS
The Manly halfback is the best in the business for SuperCoach with his nearest rival Mitchell Moses almost 10PPG behind him. Cherry-Evans should return from injury in time for Origin and had an incredible run of form in the opening seven rounds including 156 points against the Warriors. He's had three tries, five try assists, five line breaks, five line break assists and two 40/20s.
8. JOSH PAPALII
The Raiders prop had a relatively slow start to the season with his minutes down in the first four rounds. Since then his game time has gone up and so have his SuperCoach scores with a six-game average of 67.6PPG.
9. REED MAHONEY
The Eels hooker has shown he's got the right mix of work rate (averaging 42 tackles a game) and creativity with three tries, two try assists and four line breaks.
10. JOSH MCGUIRE
The Cowboys enforcer was averaging 60.7PPG over the opening seven games before he went off injured aginst the Titans. There's not too many attacking stats to talk about here. McGuire is all about the hard yards as evidenced by the massive 23 hit-ups he's had in two games this year.
11. KURT CAPEWELL
Capewell has impressed playing 80 minutes on the left edge for Cronulla with Wade Graham out injured. He's had his best ever SuperCoach season and has shown a good work rate and attacking instincts. He's had two try assists and six line break assists.
12. RHYSE MARTIN
Martin could well be Queensland's next Corey Parker but he'll probably need to nail down a spot in the Bulldogs team before that happens. For whatever reason, Dean Pay isn't as impressed with the goalkicking backrower as SuperCoaches are. Prior to being dumped for Magic Round and being brought off the bench for just 15 minutes last week, Martin was getting through a mountain of work and averaging 63.7PPG.
13. JAI ARROW
Has continued his stellar form after moving from the Broncos to the Titans last season. He's one of the top 2RF in SuperCoach with his incredible workrate and offloading ability. He had a massive score of 110 against the Sharks early in the season.
14. BEN HUNT
Dragons halfback Hunt is having his best SuperCoach season since 2015. He's had three tries, nine try assists and 20 line break assists in 10 games. Most of those attacking stats coming after Gareth Widdop and Corey Norman have been out injured. Hunt scored a whopping 134 points against the Bulldogs in Round 5. He does however have errors in his game including last week's -27 SuperCoach points against the Knights from four errors, two penalties conceded, kicked dead three times and six missed six tackles.
15. JARROD WALLACE
The Titans prop consistently scores at a rate of just over a point per minute. There's nothing too fancy in his game but he has improved his ball-playing. He's had nine offloads this season compared to just 10 for all of 2018.
16. GAVIN COOPER
The Cowboys backrower's scores have taken a dip this year. He's had just two tries out of 10 games and that was bound to happen with Johnathan Thurston's retirement. He's still getting through the usual amount of work though.
17. JOE OFAHENGAUE
A lot of SuperCoaches thought it might be Joe's year to step up. Instead he's taken a back seat while teenager Payne Haas plays big minutes terrorising opposition defences. Without doing anything outstanding this season he's Queensland's best scoring big man for the bench.
QUEENSLAND'S BEST OF THE REST
Moses Mbye 41.8PPG
Darius Boyd (retired) 37.7PPG
AJ Brimson 34.8PPG
Hymel Hunt 46.9PPG
Tom Opacic 45.4PPG
Dane Gagai 42.3PPG
Edrick Lee 41.2PPG
Corey Thompson 40.9PPG
Kyle Feldt 38.5PPG
Marion Seve 37PPG
Will Chambers 33.3PPG
Enari Tuala 32.8PPG
Corey Norman 54.1PPG
Michael Morgan 50.3PPG
Anthony Milford 48.5PPG
Lachlan Lewis 45.3PPG
Brodie Croft 41.2PPG
Ashley Taylor 36.3PPG
Kane Elgey 34.2PPG
Tom Dearden 31.7PPG
Dylan Napa 48.3PPG
Matt Scott 46.3PPG
Tim Glasby 43.8PPG
Christian Welch 43.5PPG
Scott Bolton 41.8PPG
Korbin Sims 40.5PPG
Thomas Flegler 31.7PPG
Felise Kaufusi 50PPG
Matt Gillett 47.9PPG
Coen Hess 43.4PPG
David Fifita 40.5PPG
Ethan Lowe 40.5PPG
Aidan Guerra 39.6PPG
Jayson Bukuya 38.8PPG
Corey Horsburgh 31.6PPG
Cameron Smith (retired) 65.6PPG
Jake Friend 62.3PPG
Andrew McCullough 56.4PPG
James Segeyaro 55PPG
Jake Granville 42.8PPG
Karl Lawton 40PPG
Jake Turpin 37.5PPG