Why Cameron Smith supports a “pick and stick” theory for origin selection

Rugby league great Cameron Smith believes Origin players deserve to be selected based on their previous game for the state.

Smith, who holds the record for most Origin appearances at 42, was an integral member of the record-breaking Queensland Maroons side in the late 2000s and early 2010s, which brought him also seen winning the most games and most streaks of any Origin player.

Smith said keeping a similar squad can help Origin players return to their best form when they return to club level.

“I lean towards (player selection) based on what that particular player has already done for an Origin jersey,” Smith said on SEN 1170 The Captain’s Race.

“I really do…no matter how your team travels.

“Johnathan Thurston talked about a few seasons with the Cowboys where they struggled.

“He felt like his form wasn’t great.

“As soon as he entered the State of Origin camp, he felt good.

“That’s where he found his best football.

“It helped him get back to Townsville and play his best football and in turn it helped his club.”

Smith captained the majority of Queensland’s eight consecutive series wins and during that time the Maroons kept a similar team throughout.

Around the same time, New South Wales opted to pick players based on club form, which led to a lack of cohesion that ultimately hurt the team, according to Smith.

“Given the situation in that eight to 10 year period that Queensland had… (NSW) was cutting and changing left, right and centre,” he said.

“It would have been a very difficult situation for these players in these teams to build combinations and trust each other.

“From game to game, different players were coming in and occupying crucial positions.

“I like the pick and stick theory.”

NSW will be looking to defend the Origin title when they take on Queensland in Sydney on June 8.

Sharon D. Cole