Tuesday 22 August 2017 / 10:58 PM

SIX UP THE MIDDLE: ORIGIN PLAYERS AT THE LAST-CHANCE SALOON

There will be no more chances for these players after a poor performance or a team defeat in tonight’s decider.

Mitchell Pearce (NSW)

Another series defeat for Pearce would surely signal the end of his Origin career, but such has been his resilience to bounce back from defeat after defeat, you never know if the Blues selectors will look to extend his run as their longest-serving Origin half. Surely a seventh series defeat without a win would be the end.

Josh Papalii (Queensland)

Maligned by even his own coach for his performances over the first two games of the series, Josh Papalii will do very well to survive another poor display. Papalii has gone missing in the opening two games when he has been needed most. His shift from an edge to the middle has found him out. His only saving grace is the lack of big-boppers in the Maroons’ ranks.

Blake Ferguson (NSW)

Picked off defensively in Game 2, Ferguson has struggled to make reads defensively since shifting back to the wing. Ferguson also seems to be the only winger incapable of running a cut-back angle. With the likes of Tom Trbojevic and Josh Mansour banging down the door, a loss surely brings an end to his surprising Origin run.

Gavin Cooper (Queensland)

His Origin career didn’t get started until late and he didn’t even get the nod for the series opener so he is obviously on slippery footing. If the Maroons lose and the reset button is hit, age will certainly count against the 31-year-old Cooper, as will his fringe status.

Aaron Woods (NSW)

Woods is starting to get into the Trent Merrin Zone now, where his exceptional stats probably overplay his impact on a match. Combined with a whole heap of losing, it is not going to sit well with selectors. It is hard to make a case against Woods but his type of prop has a long history of being the scapegoat for series defeats.

Ben Hunt (Queensland)

Hunt hasn’t even made his debut yet but the pressure over his selection ahead of Daly Cherry-Evans has him immediately under the furnace. A poor showing and he will tumble to the back of a very long list of Queensland halves options.

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About the author

Nick Tedeschi

You will not find a more passionate rugby league man than Nick, whose Making The Nut column has garnered a huge cult following over the last decade. The Sydney-based raconteur co-authored The Book of NRL Lists with CBS stablemate WILL EVANS in 2014 and has penned several other books; he joined the CBS team with his weekly Six Up The Middle feature in 2016.

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