The Queensland Maroons have named a revamped squad to help win them the last of the 2014 State Of Origin series at home Wednesday week, the 19-man Maroons’ team headlined by the surprise return of Cooper Cronk.
Melbourne star Cronk returns as halfback for Queensland after coming off the field ten minutes into the Origin opener with a broken arm.
The crew missed his organisational skills for sure and fill-in Daly Cherry-Evans struggled in the role despite having a cracker NRL season for Manly.
Back in the No. 7 then Cronk will be looking to give the Maroons a boost in front of home crowd at Suncorp Stadium in Game 3 on Wednesday week, July 9.
His return pushes Cherry-Evans to the bench, which doesn’t reflect his performance according to coach Mal Meninga.
“He’s the incumbent halfback. Daly’s done a terrific job the last couple of games and loyalty, I guess plays a factor, but he deserves his spot back in the footy side,” Meninga said.
Also returning from injury for Game 3 where Queensland will be playing for pride according to Meninga is Brisbane’s Corey Parker.
Parker missed Game 2 when the New South Wales Blues sealed their series with their tight one-try-to-none victory in Sydney, their first series success since 2005.
Enjoying a late career resurgence, Parker recently suffered a nasty facial fracture but is back in the No. 13 here as one of five Broncos named in the extended 19-man squad.
He’s joined by teammates Justin Hodges in the centres, Sam Thaiday out for revenge after his Game 2 try was disallowed, Matt Gillett who missed the Broncos’ embarrassing loss to the Sharks last Friday night with a shoulder injury and Josh McGuire as the 18th man.
The 19th man named was then North Queensland’s Michael Morgan who joins the Maroons camp after this weekend’s Cowboys v Dragons match in Sydney on Saturday night.
Ruled out of the Queensland team with injury meanwhile are Brent Tate on the wing, Cowboys prop Matthew Scott and utility Chris McQueen.
Tate, whose career looks to be over after he suffered yet another serious injury, is replaced by Melbourne Storm centre Will Chambers making his Origin debut here.
Scott is out with a fractured cheekbone suffered in Game 2 and will be replaced by the New Zealand Warriors Jacob Lillyman who has been upgraded from bench duties, while McQueen has an injured ankle.
Along with DCE on the bench for Queensland in Game 3, where they’ll be looking to thrash the Blues like they did nine years ago after losing the series but ending on a high at home, is a new line-up.
The Bunnies’ Ben Te’o, still off contract for next season, is there along with Queensland born-and-bred rough nut Dave Taylor picked ahead of the dumped Josh Papalii and the aforementioned Gillett from the Broncos.
The Blues may have finally won a series but they’re not fancied to make it a 3 – 0 whitewash for the first time since 2000.
Instead they are the current $2.45 underdogs in State Of Origin Game 3 betting at Ladbrokes.com.au with Queensland paying $1.57.
Back your state at the best Origin odds online now at Ladbrokes.com.au where you can also get $2 lines on both the NRL and AFL this season!
2014 State Of Origin Queensland Team – Game 3
1. Billy Slater – (Melbourne Storm)
2. Darius Boyd – (Newcastle Knights)
3. Greg Inglis – (South Sydney Rabbitohs)
4. Justin Hodges – (Brisbane Broncos)
5. Will Chambers – (Melbourne Storm)
6. Johnathan Thurston – (North Queensland Cowboys)
7. Cooper Cronk – (Melbourne Storm)
8. Jacob Lillyman – (NZ Warriors)
9. Cameron Smith (c) – (Melbourne Storm)
10. Nate Myles– (Gold Coast Titans)
11. Aidan Guerra – (Sydney Roosters)
12. Sam Thaiday – (Brisbane Broncos)
13. Corey Parker – (Brisbane Broncos)
14. Daly Cherry-Evans – (Manly Sea Eagles)
15. Ben Te’o – (South Sydney Rabbitohs)
16. Matt Gillett – (Brisbane Broncos)
17. Dave Taylor – (Gold Coast Titans)
18. Josh McGuire – (Brisbane Broncos)
19. Michael Morgan* – (North Queensland Cowboys)
Coach: Mal Meninga