For the first time since kingdom come it’s actually been difficult to fill out this Queensland team with Origin grade players. Injuries to Scott, Thurston and Inglis as well as a dip in form to many of the old guard such as Guerra and Myles has made this selection process harder than it should’ve been.
Fullback – Billy Slater
He’s back and he’s on fire. Slater has returned after potentially never playing again to switch it on and return to the league’s top tier of fullbacks.
Winger – Darius Boyd
No stranger to an Origin on the wing. Boyd has a fantastic record of scoring tries on the wing. Boyd is quality wherever he slots in.
Centre – Will Chambers
Chambers has displayed a very aggressive style of defence in the centres this season. That aggression will be much needed when the two sides collide. Chambers is just another Melbourne player who steps up when the light shines brightest.
Centre – Dane Gagai
This lad is all heart. Gagai is a quality player and is extremely versatile in both attack and defence. Gagai is due his turn in the famous Maroon jumper. Gagai gets this because he’s more versatile than Corey Oates who can’t play centre and somebody will need to partner Val Holmes.
Winger – Valentine Holmes
I wanted to put Oates in this spot but how can you leave out Holmes. He’s representing Australia and with Slater and Boyd in the mix will have to settle for a Wingers jersey.
Five Eighth – Anthony Milford
Milford was tipped to be the Origin utility last year but his breaking of the team curfew saw him miss out on his first Origin jumper. This season Thurston is out and his closest competition in Corey Norman went down with injury. Milford will be ready to step into a very, very big pair of shoes.
Halfback – Cooper Cronk
He’s rugby league wizard. Cronk has had an up-down season but in true Queensland fashion there’s a higher chance that John Howard will be president of the United States before Cronk is left out of this Queensland squad.
Prop – Josh McGuire
McGuire will get an elevation from his bench spot last year. He’s proven himself in Origin before. With the dip in form of the old mob and the Injury to Matt Scott, I’ll be extremely surprised if McGuire isn’t the first forward chosen for Queensland.
Hooker – Cameron Smith
You’ve got more chance of winning the Lotto than Cameron Smith not captaining Queensland from the dummy half position. For those maths heads it’s a 1 in 175,223,510 chance of happening.
Prop – Jarrod Wallace
Wallace is a solid option here. He’s less experienced than the rest of the pack, but I know many Broncos fans were unhappy that such a young talent was let go.
Second Row – Matt Gillett
Gillett is a gun. He's well balanced in the back row - can hold his own in defence and runs great lines off the talented ball handlers in the Queensland pack.
Second Row – Josh Papalii
Built like a Hilux and hits twice as hard. Papalii is a beast that’ll need to step up this series. Ageing teammates and a fierce New South Wales pack will test out one of leagues hardest hitters.
Lock – Sam Thaiday
Thaiday is on the decline but he still has some juice in those legs of his. He brings the niggle and Origin toughness (grubbiness) every time he dons the Maroon.
* Myles was included was because Kevin Walters announced he’d be choosing him.
By Nik Hatzi