They may have the wins on the board but Queensland’s depth will be tested when the Maroons take on New South Wales in the opening State of Origin game next week.
Today selectors named a familiar side. Only a few notables missed out due to injury, all in a bid to make it six series wins in a row.
Alexandra Atanasov reports.
Queensland had the luxury of analysing the opponent’s side before settling on their final make-up.
And unlike his New South Wales counterpart, Queensland coach Mal Meninga gave few surprises as he paraded this year’s maroon squad for the first time.
Mal Meninga, Queensland State of Origin Coach: “We understand what’s going to confront us but again it’s up to us to produce the goods.”
Captain Darren Lockyer will lead his 19th origin team that includes two debutants.
Melbourne centre Dane Nielsen comes in at the expense of the injured Greg Inglis.
The other newcomer is Brisbane Broncos winger Jharal Yow Yeh.
Club team-mate Corey Parker has returned to the Maroon squad after a six year absence, while Jacob Lillyman returns after being on the outer for three years.
Mal Meninga, Queensland State of Origin Coach: “They’ve had the taste before and they want it again and it’s going to make them even better players for us I believe.”
Although this will be Lockyer’s last series, he won’t be approaching the preparation any differently.
Darren Lockyer, Queensland State of Origin Captain: “To me it doesn’t feel any different to any other series.”
The team will have their first training run tomorrow before packing up and heading down to the Gold Coast to prepare for the opening game – already a sell-out – at Lang Park next week.
Alexandra Atanasov, QUT News.