Billy Slater, a first-time Queensland coach, has picked a solid Maroons lineup for Game 1 of the State of Origin series, despite leaving out Gold Coast Titans star David Fifita. After just 19 games in the NRL, Bronco’s young prodigy Selwyn Cobbo will make his wing debut. Meanwhile, six Cowboys players were recognized for their contributions to the club’s meteoric ascent, including cult hero Reuben Cotter, who was named to the starting lineup.
While Titans colleagues Fifita and Mo Fotuaika were able to keep their spots, Tino Fa’asuamaleaui was not so fortunate. The main talking point will be Fifita’s absence, with the star — who earns a cool $1.2 million each season — missing out following a shaky start to the season.
Slater Explained Why He Made the Choice.
Ben Hunt will take up the No.9 shirt from Harry Grant after his outstanding effort in Queensland’s Game III triumph last year.
Slater justified the decision, noting Hunt’s performance in a Maroons uniform as well as Grant’s injuries and sickness as factors.
“We believe Ben Hunt has earned the right to play in the No. 9 jersey,” Slater said after his team was announced.
Cotter, Jeremiah Nanai, and Valentine Holmes are among the Cowboys’ starting 17, while Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow, Murray Tualagi, and Tom Dearden have been included in the extended squad.
Slater remarked of Cotter, “He’s got his own mold of football.” “Reuben has left a lasting impression on me.
“Anyone who has heard me speak about Reuben this year knows how critical I think his position is in a football club.”
“He was one of the first persons I made a mental note of.” The Maroons have already pushed NSW into a surprising selection switch, with Josh Addo-Carr making way for Daniel Tupou in the Blues set-up, thanks to Cobbo and Xavier Coates on the wing.
“I haven’t paid too much attention to their team yet,” Slater added. I believe Freddy has just gone with his behavior. Daniel Tupou has been playing some outstanding football for a long time.”
My Squad of The Queensland Maroons.
- Newcastle Knights’ Kalyn Ponga
- Brisbane Broncos’ Selwyn Cobbo
- North Queensland Cowboys’ Valentine Holmes
- Newcastle Knights’ Dane Gagai
- Melbourne Storm’s Xavier Coates
- Melbourne Storm’s Cameron Munster
- Manly Sea Eagles’ Daly Cherry-Evans is ranked seventh.
- Gold Coast Titans’ Tino Fa’asuamaleaui
- St George Illawarra Dragons’ Ben Hunt
- Canberra Raiders’ Josh Papalii
- Kurt Capewell, Brisbane Broncos, No.
- Felise Kaufusi (Melbourne Storm) – 12
- North Queensland Cowboys’ Reuben Cotter (13).
- Melbourne Storm’s Harry Grant (14).
- Lindsay Collins of the Sydney Roosters is ranked number 15 in the world.
- Patrick Carrigan of the Brisbane Broncos is ranked 16th.
- North Queensland Cowboys’ Jeremiah Nanai
- North Queensland Cowboys’ Tom Dearden
- South Sydney Rabbitohs’ Jai Arrow is 19 years old.
- Thomas Flegler (Brisbane Broncos) is the number 20.
- North Queensland Cowboys’ Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow
- Murray Taulagi of the North Queensland Cowboys is number 22.
Coach Brad Fittler has selected the Raiders star in the centers, which is a surprising decision. Staggs and Wighton will form the center partnership, with the 29-year-old being rewarded for his good start to the season. Fittler’s selection was likely influenced by Wighton’s prior Origin experience, given he had previously worn the sky blue jersey nine times.
Fittler deployed the Raiders’ gun as a center for the Blues’ comeback series wins in 2019 in the second and third games.
Jacob Saifiti (Jacob Saifiti).
Daniel’s brother was one of NSW’s finest last season, but due to injury and likely form, he will miss out this year – his twin, Jacob, will be called up instead. In 2021, Saifiti was selected the Knights’ Player of the Year, and he’s had a strong first 12 rounds.
If Saifiti makes his debut, it will be a sad occasion for him, since he no doubt fantasized about donning a Blues jersey alongside his brother.
The Broncos’ star center has been a key part of the team’s incredible six-game winning run, and the prospect of him breaking tackles will make his Queensland opponents worried on the eve of Game 1.
Staggs had a slow start to the season, but he found his stride in Round 5 and has been in red-hot form ever since, earning him a well-deserved call-up. On The Matty Johns Show, Gorden Tallis commented, “God, he’s got some x-factor.” “Give him some ball against a weary defense, and he’ll be terrific for Brisbane.”
The Panther, who won the premiership, has been added to the extended team and will play the other center position. It’ll be a timely debut for the 21-year-old, who has been one of the best centers in the league for the last several years. With his acquisition, the Panthers now have seven players on the Blues roster.
The Roosters’ towering winger is a surprising selection over the reigning Blues’ winger. Addo-Carr, Josh. After appearing in 2014, 2015, and 2020 series’, Tupou will participate in his eighth Origin game.
Ryan Matterson Is a Writer and A Musician.
The 27-year-old NRL veteran has been in and around the Blues team for the previous several seasons but has yet to make an appearance. Since winning a premiership with the Roosters in 2018, Matterson has been on the Origin radar, but injuries and concussions at the wrong time of year have hampered his hopes of making the 17.
After regular back-rower Angus Crichton was omitted, the versatile back-rower is expected to make the 17-man squad, and considering his form for the Eels this season in a variety of positions, he more than deserves his shot.
Sims began the season in reserve grade before receiving a call from Fittler 11 weeks later. In the Origin arena, Sims has always been a dependable enforcer. It’s probable that his 214 NRL games and six appearances for the Blues were the deciding factors in his selection.
The Maroons are expected to sign a pair of adolescent superstars, while the Blues will have one of their own in Joseph Suaalii, who is 18 years old. Suaalii is unlikely to reach the final 17 for Game 1, but his inclusion indicates that Freddy wants the Roosters back in contention for the future.
Suaalii will return to the Roosters with a fresh perspective on what it takes to be a top-tier player after spending a week in camp with some of the game’s greatest personalities.