The Queensland Maroons have named an all-too-familiar squad of Cane Toads who will represent their state in Wednesday week’s State Of Origin 2014 opener at Suncorp Stadium where they’ll look to kick off a ninth straight series win.
The Mal Meninga-coached Maroons have enjoyed a stranglehold over the Origin arena in recent history securing eight consecutive series victories, a dominance that doesn’t look like stopping this season.
Brisbane’s Sam Thaiday is the most notable omission from the Queensland Game 1 squad after he pulled out due to an ongoing calf problem.
It will be his first missed Origin since 2008 and he’s sure to be missed as Queensland have won 15 – 5 with Sammy in the mix.
He’s replaced though by Chris McQueen in the second row, the South Sydney player having come off the bench last series.
While McQueen’s club form has been iffy, playing off the bench in five of his past six games, Meninga is confident he’ll do the second row justice along with Thaiday’s team mate Matt Gillett.
Also representing their state in the opener from the Broncos is centre Justin Hodges who has been battling injuries this season again.
Big Ben Hannant and Josh McGuire from Brisbane however both missed out on selection.
Joining Hodges in the centres is Bunnies’ superstar Greg Inglis in career best form this season and a tough man to defend.
The new inclusion to the team and the only player making their State Of Origin debut meanwhile is Roosters back-rower Aidan Guerra.
The talented 26-year-old’s only Test experience was during last year’s Rugby League World Cup during which he played three games.
Key positions that remain unchanged include fullback Billy Slater from the Storm and five-eight Johnathan Thurston.
Thurston had been brilliant for the Cowboys this season and is joined by fellow Cowboys Matt Scott in the front row and Brent Tate out on the wing.
The other Queensland winger is then the Newcastle Knights’ Darius Boyd.
The Queenslanders will be lead out by experienced skipper Cameron Smith, the hooker the third Storm in the mix joining half-back Cooper Cronk and Slater.
Will Chambers from Melbourne has also been named as number 19 in an extended Maroons’ bench that also features Daly Cherry-Evans, Guerra, Ben Te’o, Josh Papalii and Jake Friend (18th man).
Queensland is currently paying $1.42 to win Origin Game 1 at Ladbrokes.com.au and $1.53 to take out the overall series.
So visit Ladbrokes.com.au now to get in on the Origin betting action, backing your state to salute or getting in on some of the awesome exotics like the try scorer markets!
Game 1 State Of Origin Team – Queensland
1. Billy Slater, 2. Darius Boyd, 3. Greg Inglis, 4. Justin Hodges, 5. Brent Tate, 6. Johnathan Thurston, 7. Cooper Cronk, 8. Matt Scott, 9. Cameron Smith (c), 10. Nate Myles, 18. Chris McQueen, 12. Matt Gillett, 13. Corey Parker. Interchange: 14. Daly Cherry-Evans, 15. Ben Te’o, 16. Aidan Guerra, 17. Josh Papalii, 19. Will Chambers, 20. Jake Friend. Coach: Mal Meninga.