Queensland penpix ahead of next Wednesday’s opening State of Origin rugby league match against NSW at ANZ Stadium.
Fullback – Darius Boyd
Age: 28 Origins: 23
Cool under pressure and usually mistake-free, former Maroons winger Boyd should be just as reliable in attack in his first game as Queensland fullback.
Winger – Corey Oates
Age: 21 Origins: Debut
A former back-rower, the towering winger knows how to score a try but his defence has been questioned after being exposed in NRL grand final loss to North Queensland.
Centre – Greg Inglis
Age: 29 Origins: 27
Snapped out of his NRL funk when told to have fun in the Kangaroos centres against New Zealand – Queensland will hope for more of the same from Origin’s try-scoring record holder.
Centre – Justin O’Neill
Age: 25 Origins: Debut
Armed with great footwork and better defence, O’Neill appears to have the maturity to replace retired great Justin Hodges after going agonisingly close to an Origin debut on standby for Boyd in 2013 series.
Winger – Dane Gagai
Age: 25 Origins: 1
Given a reprieve after Cowboys rival Kyle Feldt’s error-riddled NRL derby display, Gagai will need to repay selectors’ loyalty with a repeat of his spectacular debut in the record 52-6 game three win last year.
Five-eighth – Johnathan Thurston
Age: 33 Origins: 33
The future Immortal appears primed to break more NSW hearts after defying a hip complaint to kick the match-winning field goal in yet another tense NRL derby win over Brisbane last week.
Halfback – Cooper Cronk
Age: 32 Origins: 16
The organised Cronk is the glue that keeps the super-successful Queensland structure together. The perfect halves foil for Thurston.
Prop – Matt Scott
Age: 30 Origins: 19
The undisputed leader of the Queensland pack. The Maroons enforcer is finally free of neck problems and ready to stamp his authority again on Origin.
Hooker – Cameron Smith (capt)
Age: 32 Origins: 36
Will break Darren Lockyer’s record for most Origins played in the series opener. A remarkable feat from a deep-thinking competitor who never let his lack of size stop him from becoming a Maroons giant.
Prop – Nate Myles
Age: 30 Origins: 29
Considered lucky to be in the 17 let alone the starting side, veteran Myles will hope his knack of lifting for Origin kicks in again after a quiet season start with new NRL club Manly.
Second row – Matt Gillett
Age: 27 Origins: 12
Arguably the form back-rower in the NRL. Has found another gear for Brisbane this season. A threat with ball in hand or as a hard-running forward on an edge.
Second row – Sam Thaiday
Age: 30 Origins: 25
Bit the bullet and volunteered to come off the bench for club Brisbane with spectacular results. He is the rare blend of an impact forward who is capable of playing major minutes at Origin level.
Lock – Corey Parker
Age: 34 Origins: 16
Rugby league’s Benjamin Button. Workaholic back-rower showing no signs of slowing down at age when most forwards consider retirement.
Age: 24 Origins: 3
The game’s premier bench utility after earning Kangaroos honours. His versatility ensures he is the ultimate Origin ace up the sleeve.
Age: 26 Origins: 2
Broncos battering ram back from an Achilles injury after looking right at home on Origin debut last year.
Age: 28 Origins: 6
Another looking to repay selectors’ faith after jagging spot ahead of Warriors prop Jacob Lillyman – the only Maroons incumbent overlooked for game one.
Age: 24 Origins: 4
Canberra wrecking ball goes from Kangaroos starting back row to Maroons bench in a month but should be no less a threat to a new-look NSW pack.