It’s that time of the year again, when the rivalry between Queensland and New South Wales reaches its highest point, State Of Origin.
The all-conquering Queensland team have named their side for the opener on June 5 and have retained the core nucleus of what has seen them win seven straight series.
Just one debutant will line up in the star-studded line up, with some tough performances and a stunning start to the season seeing South Sydney forward Chris McQueen earn a spot on the bench.
But what appears on paper may not be the team that takes the field, with coach Mal Meninga naming an extended squad for the clash on June 5.
A number of players are under injury clouds while the game’s best five eighth Jonathan Thurston’s wife is due to give birth on gameday. Manly number six Daly Cherry-Evans has been called in as cover for the Cowboys skipper.
Melbourne flyer Justin O’Neill is also in the extended squad as cover for winger Darius Boyd who could be forced to miss the clash due to a foot injury.
South Sydney forward Ben Te’o is expected to be fit for the fixture but Raider’s big man Josh Papali is on standby just in case.
If Papali does start the Maroons will lose none of their muscle, with the New Zealand-born youngster weighing it at a whopping 110kg.
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2013 XXXX Queensland Maroons Team (Game 1)
1. Billy Slater (Melbourne Storm)
2. Darius Boyd (Newcastle Knights)
3. Greg Inglis (South Sydney Rabbitohs)
4. Justin Hodges (Brisbane Broncos)
5. Brent Tate (North Queensland Cowboys)
6. Johnathan Thurston (North Queensland Cowboys)
7. Cooper Cronk (Melbourne Storm)
8. Matt Scott (North Queensland Cowboys)
9. Cameron Smith (c) (Melbourne Storm)
10. David Shillington (Canberra Raiders)
11. Nate Myles (Gold Coast Titans)
12. Sam Thaiday (Brisbane Broncos)
13. Ashley Harrison (Gold Coast Titans)
14. Corey Parker (Brisbane Broncos)
15. Matt Gillett (Brisbane Broncos)
16. Ben Te’o (South Sydney Rabbitohs)
17. Chris McQueen (South Sydney Rabbitohs)
18. Daly Cherry-Evans (Manly Sea Eagles)
19. Josh Papalii (Canberra Raiders)