What State of Origin style Yorkshire vs Lancashire teams would look like in 2022

With State of Origin in full swing down under prompting plenty of conversation on the other side of the planet about what teams should be picked by the Blues and Maroons. This got us thinking about what the Yorkshire vs Lancashire equivalent would look like today.

Especially with England set to tussle with the Combined Nations today, if a Yorkshire vs Lancashire game instead took its place as the mid season representative clash for Shaun Wane to analyse his England squad, what would the teams look like?

Let’s begin with Yorkshire considering the availability of players in Super League right now to truly get a grasp of what these teams would look like if the RFL had gone this route instead of the Combined Nations Clash.

So, players like Jake Connor, Jordan Abdull and Reece Lyne will not feature.

So what would this mean for the Yorkshire spine? Well at fullback Zak Hardaker’s return to form at Leeds and his England experience would be just enough to see him figure at fullback whilst Huddersfield man Will Pryce would start at six. He has all the right attributes to make a splash at the international level and his running game could decide a game like this.

The same could be said of Mikey Lewis who partners him here. Capable of winning a game in an instant, he would be ideal for this fixture. Equally, their youth would help develop halfbacks for the future. Of course, Luke Gale would be a more experienced option whilst Jake Trueman may feel harshly done by here but the form of this duo over the last 12 months means they get the nod.

It does mean that an organiser is needed at nine but with the experience of England hooker Michael McIlorum would provide that. Another key component in attack would be the skilful Joe Westerman who would get this team going forward and moving the ball.

As for the rest of the side, Ryan Hall and Ash Handley would provide metre making ability out wide in the absence of the injured Tom Johnstone whilst Harry Newman and Toby King would make for a centre partnership with real strike.

Alex Walmsley is perhaps their highest profile player at prop and would be patterned by Mikolaj Oledzki due to the fact he’s spent most of his life in Yorkshire despite being born in Poland.

Two more former Super League Champions with Lancashire teams feature in the backrow in John Bateman and Joe Batchelor. Huddersfield duo Matty English and Oliver Wilson figure on the bench alongside Leeds’ Cameron Smith. Paul McShane completes it as he did for England yesterday.

Here the team in full:

1 Zak Hardaker
2 Ryan Hall
3 Harry Newman
4 Toby King
5 Ash Handley
6 Will Pryce
7 Mikey Lewis
8 Mikolaj Oledzki
9 Michael McIlorum
10 Alex Walmsley
11 John Bateman
12 Joe Batchelor
13 Joe Westerman
14 Paul McShane
15 Oliver Wilson
16 Matty English
17 Cameron Smith

So what about Lancashire? With the last four Super League Champions coming from Lancashire, you’d think they ‘d be favourites and have a lot of interesting conundrums in their 17 starting with fullback.

I’ve gone for Sam Tomkins the reigning Man of Steel. He gets the nod ahead of Jack Welsby largely due to Welsby’s ability to play in other roles namely centre which is where he figures alongside another unconventional pick at centre with Mark Percival injured and Kallum Watkins now playing second-row these days.

I’ve put Tommy Makinson there. He has experience in the position and would allow Tom Davies and Liam Marshall – two exceptional wingers – a place in the side and would give more metre making and attacking ability to the side.

Challenge Cup Final hero and one of the league’s best halves features at six in the in form Harry Smith. He’s joined by Oldham born Olly Russell who has been exceptional in 2022 and is a future England international due to his organising ability.

Saints duo Jonny Lomax and Lewis Dodd are blows of course and for more experience someone like George Williams or Marc Sneyd could be named instead.

In the pack, Chris Hill’s injury is a blow but when you have Mike Cooper and Matty Lees to call on it’s not all that bad.

Sam Powell would be a good nine to get things going before livewire Brad Dwyer brings on a bit of chaos with him off the bench. We’ve not include James Roby owing to his international retirement

The backrow would include Ben Currie and Liam Farrell whilst Joe Philbin would be a very difficult 13 to stop.

Alongside Dwyer on the bench are Wigan duo Ethan Havard – who ticks the same box as Oledzki – and Liam Byrne as well as the brilliant Matt Whitley of Catalans.

Here’s the team in full:

1 Sam Tomkins
2 Tom Davies
3 Jack Welsby
4 Tommy Makinson
5 Liam Marshall
6 Jonny Lomax
7 Harry Smith
8 Mike Cooper
9 Sam Powell
10 Matty Lees
11 Ben Currie
12 Liam Farrell
13 Joe Philbin
14 Brad Dwyer
15 Ethan Havard
16 Matt Whitley
17 Liam Byrne

But the big question is, who would win a game between this team – if only we could see and find out.

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