The Inaugural Monster Energy PBR Origin looks to be an intriguing-on-paper matchup between an experienced and decorated New South Wales side versus a Queensland team loaded with youth and X-factor.
The teams feature the last three PBR Australian National Champions as well as multiple PBR World Finals Qualifiers plus members of the Australian Team that competed at the PBR Global Cup.
For those that have missed my previous posts this week, here are the two sides that will go head to head inside the ICC Theatre on Saturday night.
New South Wales
Starting Lineup: Troy Wilkinson (c), Cody Heffernan, Cliff Richardson Justin Robards, Will Purcell, Ethan Watts, Lachlan Slade, Nathan Burtenshaw, Sam Woodall.
International Riders: Gustavo Pedrero, Robinson Guedes.
Alternate Riders: Daniel Rogan, Oscar Leake.
Starting Lineup: Aaron Kleier (c), Brady Fielder, Mitch Paton, Lane Mellers, Lawson Nobbs, Donovan Rutherfurd, Joshua Jones, Sam Woodard, Kurt Shephard.
International Riders: Francisco Morales, Flávio Vinícius da Silva.
Alternate Riders: Jay Borghero, Fraser Babbington.
Let’s see how these two teams matchup!
The first notable difference here is that the Queensland side is on average almost four years younger than the New South Welshman. The average age of the Queensland team is just 22.22 years old, compared to 26.11 years old for the Blues.
On the Queensland side of the draw, Donovan Rutherfurd is the youngest man in this matchup at the tender age of 19. His teammates Brady Fielder and Lane Mellers will be the next youngest players competing at 20. Mitch Paton at 28 will be the oldest of the Australian Maroons with Mexico’s Francisco Morales, the oldest competitor on either side at 36-years-old. *Brady Fielder is 19 years of age.
For the Blues, Sam Woodall is the youngest cowboy at 21-year-old with the remainder of the squad all now aged 25 or higher. At 29, Cody Heffernan is the oldest named with Captain Troy Wilkinson and Cliff Richardson just a year behind. Both of the International invites, Pedrero and Guedes, are upwards of 30-years-old.
The Blues hold a massive advantage over the Maroons when it comes to PBR experience. The Aussie riders in the NSW team average 205.22 PBR career outs per rider compared to the Maroons who average just 128.78 career outs.
Current Australian No. 1 Cody Heffernan leads the way for NSW with 408 outs to his name with Troy Wilkinson’s 388 and Cliff Richardson’s 256 the next highest for the Blues. Kurt Shephard is most capped Queenslander with 441 PBR outs with Mitch Paton next best with 292 outs. Reigning Aussie Champion Aaron Kleier sits on 147.
When we add in the international invites, this margin narrows significantly thanks to QLD’s Francisco Morales, who has over 500 outs in the PBR. The Mexican’s experience brings the Maroons average up to 159.0 outs while the Blues average drops almost two outs to 203.63 rides.
Queensland’s Donovan Rutherford is the least experienced when it comes to PBR competition with just 12 outs recorded, closely followed by teammate Joshua Jones on 18 and Brady Fielder with 20.
Sam Woodall has 31 PBR outs recorded and is the lowest number for the Blues with Will Purcell on 78 outs. All other NSW riders have upwards of 130 PBR outs registered.
2019 Riding Percentage
While the NSW team has the experience and winning edge, the Queenslanders hold a far superior 2019 riding percentage. The Australian Maroons hold a combined 45.81% success rate in the 2019 season with the Blues at just 35.71%. This margin once again closes up when we add in the International contingent with QLD sliding to 42.59% and NSW climbing to 36.77%.
Queensland’s Lawson Nobbs holds the highest individual riding percentage despite spending the majority of his year competing overseas. At 61.9%, Nobbs is closely followed behind by teammate Brady Fielder who sits on an even 60%. QLD Captain Aaron Kleier is also riding at an extremely high percentage this season at 56.67% while Mitch Paton and Joshua Jones are both performing at an even 50%.
Cody Heffernan is the best of the Blues with a riding percentage of 54.17%. Troy Wilkinson is just behind on 52.63%. Cliff Richardson is next best with a rate of 47.06%.
2019 Event and Round Wins
The NSW team have recorded 16 PBR round wins worldwide so far in the 2019 season with the Queenslanders taking out just six rounds. Despite this lopsided stat, both sides are tied on 7 event wins for the year, with Cody Heffernan (4), Cliff Richardson, Justin Robards and Will Purcell all winning buckles for the Blues, while Queenslanders Lawson Nobbs (3), Aaron Kleier (2) and Brady Fielder (2) have also tasted success so far this season.
With Australia’s best stock contractors making the journey to Sydney to supplying a star-studded bullpen for the event, the event will favour those who can handle the rankest bulls. The New South Wales team has been marked an average score of 83.00 points so far in 2019 while the Maroons are marked 82.19 points on average. With the added International riders, NSW maintains their average while the Queensland mark drops almost 0.27 of a point.
2019 Ride Scores
Queensland’s Lawson Nobbs leads the way with an average mark of 87-points from his two rides in Australia since returning from the USA. Cody Heffernan is the best of the Blues with an average score of 85.08 points.
Five of the top six high marked rides of the 2019 PBR Australia season belong to the veteran New South Wales Trio of Cody Heffernan, Troy Wilkinson and Cliff Richardson. Heffernan has been marked 88.50 points twice this season aboard Mr Buckmore and Ransom 2. He also added an 88-point ride on Call Me Joe. The 88-point ride was matched by Wilkinson, who came up with his own aboard Lost Signal while Richardson combined with Maximum Rat for 87.50 points. Lawson Nobbs holds the highest mark for a Queenslander with 87.5 aboard Volatile.
Check back Friday afternoon for a look inside the PBR Origin bullpen and on Saturday for The Morning Line and my PBR Origin Late Mail!