City vs Country is dead. The international calendar is diluted. Club coaches would block players from playing State of Origin if it they thought they could get away with it.
Fortunately they can't influence selections for the Earth team either.
|Planet Earth is the only object with |
more power and influence in RL than
Des Hasler and Ricky Stuart.
Here is the side...
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1. Darius BOYD (Brisbane, Australia)
With Slater and Tuivasa-Sheck slowly building back to their best after long-term injuries, this was a shootout between the two best fullbacks over the last season and a half - Boyd and Tedesco. Whereas Boyd previously been a key cog in a premiership team, and represented his state and country with distinction, Tedesco has got injured a lot and never played a finals game. So Boyd it is!
2. Jordan RAPANA (Canberra, New Zealand)
3. Joseph LEILUA (Canberra, Samoa)
I think Rapana is arguably the best winger in the NRL since 2016. I don't know if Leulia is the best centre, but I'm pretty sure the current Aussie pair of Chambers and Dugan aren't standouts, so I've elected to keep the most explosive outside back combination in the NRL together. Defence may be an issue, but I'll gamble on them scoring more than they concede.
4. Jarryd HAYNE (Gold Coast)
Picking Hayne in 2017 seems stupid. That is, stupid like a fox!
This spot would've been for Greg Inglis, if not injured. Inglis has a knack of rising to the occasion. He goes from looking unfit and disinterested for Souths, to constantly threatening for Queensland, to completely unstoppable for Australia, so I don't know what his next level is for the Earth team. And the player most like Inglis? Jarryd Hayne. I don't care about his form, if it's a big game, I'm picking him.
5. Suliasi VUNIVALU (Melbourne, Fiji)
In twelve months, Vunivalu has gone from the injury crisis stopgap for the Storm, to the greatest try scorer in the competition.
6. Johnathan THURSTON (North Queensland, Australia)
7. Cooper CRONK (Melbourne, Australia)
The halves selections are no brainers.
8. James GRAHAM (Canterbury, England)
I want the NRL's biggest grub leading my forward pack in an interplanetary grudge match.
9. Cameron SMITH (c) (Melbourne, Australia)
Smith is the leader of the best performing rugby league club, state, country, and now planet.
10. Sam BURGESS (Souths, England)
In 2016, the widely held view seemed to be that Burgess was below-his-best after returning from rugby. Yet statistically he was still one of the best forwards going.
11. Boyd CORDNER (Sydney, Australia)
12. Matt GILLETT (Brisbane, Australia)
I'll stick with the Kangaroos second row options.
13. Jason TAUMALOLO (North Queensland, New Zealand)
Taumalolo is the best running forward in the game, and I don't think it's even close.
14. Anthony MILFORD (Brisbane, Samoa)
I wanted a creative back that can make an impact on the bench, but I think Australia's choice in this role of Michael Morgan is a bit underwhelming. Milf is the player from the NRL that I'd most want coming on at the 55 minute mark to cause havoc against tired forwards.
15. Josh McGUIRE (Brisbane, Samoa)
A few weeks ago, I caught a bit of The Footy Show, and McGuire told a story about how he had a toothache the night before a game. So he could sleep properly he decided to remove the tooth with pliers, instead of, I don't know, taking some Panadol. Then he put the tooth in milk thinking a dentist would be able to put it back in on the Monday after the game.
That is the kind of idiotic brawn I want ripping into the other planets tiring players from the interchange bench.
16. Josh PAPALII (Canberra,
The Canberra second-rower was removed from the Australian side this week after being convicted of drink driving. Now I don't want to trivialise the stupidness of drink driving, but there are no cars in space. I'm picking him.
17. Paul GALLEN (Cronulla, City Origin)
Gallen has his critics, but in my view he's still the best Australian middle forward going around. I think he could make a significant impact condensing his 80 minute game into a 25-30 minute spell. If he's prepared to come out of rep footy retirement to play for City, he's going to accept the call from team Earth.
18. Jordan KAHU (Brisbane, New Zealand)
There are better outside backs not picked, but as an emergency reserve, I like his versatility. Kahu can play fullback, wing, centre, kick field goals, and forget the rules.
19. James MALONEY (Cronulla, Australia)
Every time Maloney changes clubs - Warriors to Roosters, Roosters to Sharks - the team he leaves gets much worse and the team he joins gets much better. Most of the big signings in recent years have not had that clear impact, yet Maloney has done it twice. He's seriously underrated.
20. Josh HODGSON (Canberra, England)
Last season, Hodgson was a frontrunner for the Dally M award for most of the season. He is worthy hooker understudy for Smith.
21. Jesse BROMWICH (Melbourne, New Zealand)
Bromwich is unlucky to miss out, as I had him in the team until I remembered about McGuire extracting his own tooth.