HOW QUEENSLAND STACK UP FOR THE 2015 STATE OF ORIGIN OPENER
Fullback – Billy Slater
Age: 31 Origins: 25
Keen to make up for disappointment of missing the Anzac Test through injury. The complete fullback, his peerless defence is matched by class in attack.
Wing – Darius Boyd
Age: 27 Origins: 20
Only had two NRL games back from a ruptured Achilles tendon but no one should doubt Boyd’s mettle after overcoming well-documented mental demons. Prolific Origin try-scorer outside Greg Inglis.
Centre – Greg Inglis
Age: 28 Origins: 24
Sounding alarm bells for NSW, Inglis is keen to have some fun again after an NRL season start weighed down by a troublesome knee complaint.
Centre – Justin Hodges
Age: 32 Origins: 21
Hodges is back to his wily best in his final representative season and the big, stepping centre will want to finish with the Origin trophy in his hands.
Wing – Will Chambers
Age: 26 Origins: 1
Usurped Hodges at centre in the Kangaroos this year and should pose problems for NSW as he bides his time on the wing for the Maroons
Five-eighth – Johnathan Thurston
Age: 32 Origins: 30
Arguably the greatest player in the game and in arguably career-best form after leading his North Queensland Cowboys to a club-record seven straight wins. His probing runs and passes spark plenty of attack.
Halfback – Cooper Cronk
Age: 31 Origins: 14
The perfect foil for playmaker Thurston. A clever, precise and clinical halfback.
Prop – Matt Scott
Age: 29 Origins: 16
Primed after off-season shoulder surgery, Scott will want to show he can reclaim the mantle of world’s best prop.
Hooker – Cameron Smith
Age: 31 Origins: 33
Dodged a bullet in some eyes when he escaped a suspension for kicking South Sydney rival Issac Luke. A cool and inspirational leader who will also sniff any gaps from dummy half.
Prop – Nate Myles
Age: 29 Origins: 26
Big fella looks set to break the shackles and find form again for his beloved Maroons after finally sorting out his NRL future.
Second row – Aidan Guerra
Age: 27 Origins: 3
Ready to repay loyalty from Queensland selectors after earning a starting nod despite just returning from broken cheekbone.
Second row – Sam Thaiday
Age: 29 Origins: 21
The joker of the Queensland team has been all business, rising to a challenge from Broncos coach Wayne Bennett to show why he should be re-signed. His charges at the defensive line are a major threat on the right side.
Lock – Corey Parker
Age: 33 Origins: 13
Dad’s Army jokes may fly thick and fast at the veteran Queensland team but age does not weary the skilful Parker and his off-loads in the tackle will test the Blues.
Age: 25 Origins: Debut
Broncos bruiser finally gets his chance to flex his representative muscle after looming large in Maroons plans in past seasons.
Age: 26 Origins: 9
Had to hold off the challenge from Josh Papalii to retain Maroons spot. Will want to step up after being overshadowed in Brisbane’s back-row.
Age: 31 Origins: 8
Big Queensland country boy, the ideal man to let loose in counter to the beefed-up NSW bench.
Age: 23 Origins: Debut
North Queensland’s Mr Fixit, Morgan has been on fire as Thurston’s halves foil in a club combination that looks set to also benefit Queensland after he replaced injured Daly Cherry-Evans as bench utility.