Imagine if you could slice and dice the best attributes of 40 years of State of Origin to fuse the ultimate Frankenstein-style Maroons player together.
Fans have their chance to use the best aspects of players from each state to come up with the Ultimate Origin Player. NRL.com will announce, fittingly, on Friday 13 November, the fan-voted Origin Frankenstein.
NRL.com and Stats Perform cooked up the data in their lab to create a rugby league monster from parts of nine players using data from four decades of interstate rivalry.
And this is how the Ultimate Maroons Origin Player was assembled and who made the cut to form a player’s all-round monster that would give nightmares to any competitor.
Right foot: Wally Lewis
Notables: Darren Lockyer, Allan Langer, Johnathan Thurston, Cooper Cronk
The King of Origin gets the cake in an unbelievably stacked field.
It may be a surprise for a player perhaps best remembered for his raw physicality, damaging running and instinctive playmaking that Lewis kicked further in his 31 Origin than Thurston did in 37 or Lockyer did in 36, but Wally ‘s long boot helped kick Queensland to plenty of wins with 10,489 meters at 338 per game.
Let’s hope our Frankenstein will pull from the same leg in any of his power running games.
Left foot: Johnathan Thurston
Notables: Mal Meninga, Mat Rogers, Darren Lockyer, Gary Belcher
The goal-kicking record at Origin level of Thurston’s superboot cowboys simply leaves everyone else for dust.
His 99 goals are 30 clear of next best Mal Meninga and he got them at % accuracy, well ahead of 63 % of Meninga. The next one, Lockyer’s 22, is not really in the frame.
A clutch sideline conversion to square the 2017 series that the Maroons went on to clinch in the decider was Thurston ‘s final ever act on the Origin field.
Left leg (line breaks): Greg Inglis
Notables: Mal Meninga, Darius Boyd, Billy Slater, Gary Belcher
In the Origin arena, who else could this be but Inglis, with the most line breaks and tries ever.
The loping gait of the lanky center in open space is a sight that often hit Blues fans with terror, 26 times to be exact in 32 Origins, one more than Meninga managed in the same number of games.
GI was also heavily involved in long-time left-edge partner Darius Boyd ‘s 24 line breaks, the third most ever.
Slater (20 line breaks) was just as dangerous, while Gary Belcher (18 in 16 games) is the only man on this list to go better than one per game of Maroon ‘s legend.
This Frankenstein will be really hard to avoid with Inglis’s running game.
Right leg (run metres): Petero Civoniceva
Notables: Steve Price, Nate Myles, Martin Bella, Shane Webcke
Of all the metre-eaters who, over the past 40 years, have relentlessly trucked it up through the middle of Queensland, none have done it quite as effectively as big Petero.
With 4285 at 130 per game over his 33 games, he has the most meters gained in Origin ‘s history.
Price and Myles, the next prolific meter gainers among Maroons forwards, finished with around 1000 fewer career meters than Petero, whose leg drive will add plenty to our Frankenstein Maroons.
Left arm (tackle breaks): Mel Meninga
Notables: Greg Inglis, Bob Lindner, Dale Shearer, Wendell Sailor
Of all the players you wouldn’t want to run at you in Origin history, big Mal would have to be right near the top of the list at full gallop with the bumpers up. From 1980 all the way to 1994, he struck fear into the hearts of Blues defenders.
Meninga bumped his way to 141 busts for Queensland with tree trunk legs and one of the most crazy left-arm fends in the history of the sport, the most in Origin history, six clear of what Inglis achieved in the same number of games.
The 4.4 busts per game of Meninga over a long career are eclipsed on a per-game basis by the likes of Sailor (5.9 in 14 games), Hancock (5.4 in 14) and Belcher (5.2 in 16), but we have to take the Meninga fend for our Maroons Frankenstein for destructive running over a long period.
Right arm (offloads): Artie Beetson
Notables: Wally Lewis, Mal Meninga, Gene Miles, Steve Walters
Our Frankenstein Maroons are truly spoiled for choice here. There is a strong argument which Origin’s greatest player has a second leg. Lewis’s 99 offloads in 31 games are easily the highest tally in Origin history, 21 off Meninga’s 78.
It’s also the best per-game rate of anyone with more than seven caps, at 3.2 offloads per game. But we could not resist the urge to include a piece by Artie Beetson, the godfather of Origin.
With a starring performance that included seven offloads, Big Artie dismantled NSW in the first ever Origin match in 1980, and his only Origin game.
Over a long and successful career with Balmain, Easts, Parramatta and Australia, the seventh Immortal was also a known offloader and is a must for our monster Maroons.
Torso (work rate): Gary Larson
Notables: Nate Myles, Petero Civoniceva, Billy Moore, Steve Price
The success of origin is focused on heart and hard work, and there are a number of honest toilers who could supply this Frankenstein with both the engine, but what better candidate than stalwart Gary Larson of the North Sydney Bears.
From his 1991 debut to his 1998 swansong, he didn’t miss a single Origin, with his record of 24 straight still the second best ever, only finally beaten by Thurston.
Behind Cameron Smith, Larson has the second-most tackles in Origin history, with 879 at 37 per game to go with 2662 meters at 111 per match, plus one offload and just over one bust per game.
Billy Moore, Nate Myles, Steve Price or Civoniceva could have supplied this monster with the engine just as easily, but none was more worthy than Larson.
Head (try assists): Johnathan Thurston
Notables: Darren Lockyer, Allan Langer, Wally Lewis, Cooper Cronk
No playmaker have consistently excelled at Origin level over such a long period as Thurston, as great as the likes of Lewis, Lockyer and Langer were, as he is the only player from either state to provide an ultimate Origin Frankenstein of two separate body parts.
Thurston had the privilege of playing in an extraordinary period of Origin success, but he was also a large part of the reason for that dominance to be honest.
He finished his career with 26 assists in 37 games, making a whopping nine more opportunities than Lockyer with 17 in 36 games, second on the list.
Langer (15), Lewis (14) and Meninga (11) also racked up plenty of assists through their careers.
Shoulders (tackles): Cameron Smith
Notables: Gary Larson, Billy Moore, Dallas Johnson, Josh McGuire
Without a piece of the player who holds the record for the most games, most wins and most tackles in Origin history, we couldn’t make a Maroons monster.
Smith may not have been the hardest hitting defender the arena has ever seen, but with Larson’s 879 a distant second, the man carries out 1666 career tackles, almost twice as many as anyone else in history.
He made those tackles at almost 40 per match and an effective rate of more than 90 %. Noted Origin hitmen such as Trevor Gillmeister and Tonie Carroll played crucial positions for their teams, but each averaged less than 20 tackles per game and an effective rate of less than 80 %.
Larson, Moore, Johnson and the recently discarded McGuire each racked up 30-plus tackles at over % effective per game, but no-one comes close to Smith’s numbers for defensive workrate over a career.
The views in this article do not necessarily express the opinions of the NRL, ARL Commission, NRL clubs or state associations.