Origin Greats: Who are the best five-eighths?

Brad Fittler or Laurie Daley for Blues five-eighth. What a tough choice.

It's part of our Origin Greats series, where two league legends, King Wally Lewis and Benny Elias, have picked their best ever teams, and you have the chance to test yourself against them.

But there's a catch: they'll name teams from opposing states, with Lewis naming his best NSW Origin side and Elias selecting his all-time best Queensland team.

The public poll results and the picks of Lewis and Elias will run in print and online on game day, May 27.

So far we've looked at the fullbacks, wingers and centres. Today we'll examine the five-eighths.

NEW SOUTH WALES FIVE-EIGHTH

Brad Fittler and Laurie Daley head the No.6 nominations even though both featured prominently in our centres category.

Such was there versatility and high skill level both were considered at home in either position.

With 31 Origins, Fittler remains one the Blues most capped players during a punctuated interstate career that ended in 2001, well so he thought.

He was however coaxed out of retirement  in 2004 by the urgings of then NSW coach Phil Gould to help the Blues win the series that year in a fairytale finish much Like Allan Langer did in when Wayne Bennett pulled off a masterstroke bringing his champion little No.7 back from England for the deciding third game in Brisbane in 2001  in which he inspired Queensland to a crushing victory.

While Fittler had a feared left-foot step Daley was the ultimate Origin warrior, creative with the ball in hand and a very strong runner. 

Terry Lamb and Trent Barrett also wore the Blues No.6 well but our final nomination, Eel's great Brett Kenny, was a genius in the jumper.

Kenny played 17 Origins, all of them against Lewis who rated him very highly.

The fact Parramatta won four premierships in the Kenny-Sterling-Price era is not surprising giving "Bert's" brilliance with the ball in hand and his silky running game.

 

QUEENSLAND FIVE-EIGHTH

We will run through the five nominations but whichever side of the border you come from the Queensland No.6 will probably always belong to one Walter James "Wally" Lewis.

Eight-times man-of-the-match, 30 times captain in 31 Origins and the nickname "King".

Lewis was there from day one and even NSW supporters who would often boo him even when he wore a green and gold jumper would admit he dominated Origin in its early years.

That's not say Darren Lockyer was not a wonderful five-eighth for the Maroons. He played a record 36 Origins and turned into a great leader. There was no tougher player to pull on a Maroon jumper.

Johnathan Thurston is now continuing the amazing high standard of No.6s for Queensland since current selector Alan Smith wore the jumper in Origin 1 back in 1980.

Kevin Walters was a very under-rated No.6 who played 20 Origins while Ben Ikin, the youngest player ever picked for Queensland in Paul Vautin's amazing 1995 3-0 whitewash clocked up 17 Origins before being forced into early retirement.

In case you missed it

Click here to vote on the fullbacks

Click here to vote on the wingers

Click here to vote on the centres

Did we miss any other worthy five-eighths? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.



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