Joseph Suaalii call praised, Origin team announcement 'debacle': Good, bad, ugly of NRL round 12

Michael Maguire ignored the naysayers to pick Suaalii in the centres for State of Origin I.

😃 The good: Michael Maguire's gusty call to pick Joseph Suaalii

😔 The bad: 'Debacle' around announcement of State of Origin teams

😡 The ugly: Cronulla's woeful performance against Panthers

State of Origin is all about the now. It doesn’t matter what happened last year and it certainly doesn't matter what happens next year.

That's why it was refreshing to see NSW coach Michael Maguire ignore calls to overlook Joseph Suaalii because he's headed to rugby in 2025. The Roosters star will line up against Queensland on Wednesday week and looks Origin built.

Joseph Suaalii.
Joseph Suaalii in action for the Sydney Roosters.

He's great under the high ball, makes plenty of yardage from kick returns and really rocks 'em in defence. The Maroons would have loved it if Maguire had left him out of Origin as punishment for switching to union. The coach would only have been cutting off his nose to spite his face if he hadn't.

"I want to pick the best available team. I want to win the series," Madge told News Corp. "Just because he's going to rugby union doesn't mean the Blues jersey doesn’t mean anything to him."

Don’t be surprised if Suaalii is one of the Blues' best in Origin I. He is that good.

The announcement of State of Origin teams, particularly at the start of a series, creates immense interest and speculation. Yet, it's treated like a schoolyard game of footy where the two captains takes turns picking players.

It's been a guessing game all week as to when the NSW squad would officially be announced. Some said the Blues team would be out Sunday night while others said it would be most likely Monday.

Michael Maguire and Billy Slater with the State of Origin shield.
State of Origin coaches Michael Maguire (NSW) and Billy Slater (Queensland) with the shield.

No one attached to the NSW set-up would say for sure, either sworn to secrecy or in the dark as much as the rest of us. Former Blues coach Phil Gould took to social media to ask punters if they knew.

Queensland's squad was announced on Monday morning, although the 17-man line-up was out there for all to see online Sunday night. What a debacle. But it’s been like this for years.

Surely the announcement of both squads should be done live on television on the Sunday night following that round of football. Get both coaches there and invite the media to ask questions. Make it an event that affords due respect to the biggest annual sporting series in Australia. It can’t be that hard.

It was the sort of performance Cronulla fans hoped they’d left in the rear-view mirror. Saturday night's abysmal 42-0 loss to Penrith adds to the perception the Sharks turn into goldfish when the heat is applied.

The Panthers were terrific and would have beaten any side on the night, but the meek resistance from the home side was stunning. Yes, they had a number of things go against them.

But that was no excuse for the litany of errors, missed tackles and lack of energy. Wins over Melbourne and the Roosters over the past fortnight hinted at a turning of the corner.

Challenged to aim up against the big boys, Cronulla did just that. A win over Penrith - or a fighting defeat - would have further confirmed their status as genuine contenders capable of matching it with the competition heavyweights. Now there's just a nagging doubt what the Sharks will dish up come finals time.

In the meantime, they have a tricky Origin period to negotiate without key players. Nicho Hynes and Cameron McInnes have been chosen for game one and there's a chance the likes of Jesse Ramien and Blayke Bailey could been seen later in the series if the Blues make changes.

The Sharks will be missing their Origin reps in round 13 (v Parramatta) and round 19 (v Tigers). It makes for interesting times in the Shire.

Check back in every Monday throughout the NRL season for Adam Lucius' 'Good, Bad and Ugly' column.