HOW THE MAROONS STACK UP FOR STATE OF ORIGIN III
Fullback – Greg Inglis
Age: 28 Origins: 25
Back to his best in game two after an illness-marred Origin I. Primed to create more headaches for NSW at fullback filling in for injured Billy Slater. Unstoppable when on song.
Winger: Darius Boyd
Age: 27 Origins: 22
Has created a wonderful Origin double act with good mate Inglis, the pair crossing for a staggering 31 combined tries. Set to overcome a groin niggle.
Centre: Will Chambers
Age: 27 Origins: 3
Came crashing back to earth in Origin II loss after impressive game one. Will look to make amends in first game in preferred centre position in a backline reshuffle created by Slater’s injury.
Centre: Justin Hodges
Age: 33 Origins: 22
Wily veteran is the heart and soul of the Queensland team. Maroons will be hoping to send the retiring Queensland great out a winner in what will be his final game for his beloved state.
Winger: Dane Gagai
Age: 24 Origins: Debut
Already achieved redemption by earning Origin debut barely 18 months after being blacklisted by Queensland for missing training at Emerging Maroons camp. Will hope to add another chapter to his remarkable comeback trail on daunting debut in series decider.
Five-eighth: Johnathan Thurston
Age: 32 Origins: 31
Reunited with halves partner Cooper Cronk, look for arguably the world’s best player to be even better in Origin III. Primed after a rare rest at NRL club Cowboys, Origin ironman Thurston won’t be showing rust in record 32nd straight game.
Halfback: Cooper Cronk
Age: 31 Origins: 15
In a remarkable recovery, Cronk is back to add much-needed structure to Queensland just weeks after going down with a knee injury. Kicking game sorely missed in game two loss.
Prop: Matt Scott
Age: 29 Origins: 18
Warhorse has been a late arrival at Queensland camp due to bulging disc pain that will probably require end-of-season surgery. Will take more than that to stop the tough-as-teak prop from playing.
Hooker: Cameron Smith
Age: 32 Origins: 35
How do you gauge the Queensland captain’s importance for the Maroons ahead of game three? Will equal Darren Lockyer’s Origin record of 36 games. Enough said.
Prop: Nate Myles
Age: 30 Origins: 27
Hard nut ready for another round with NSW’s monster pack. Nothing seems to faze the big man, not even NSW chatter that he is Queensland’s “chief niggler” in what looms as an explosive decider.
Second row: Aidan Guerra
Age: 27 Origins: 5
Needs to start repaying Queensland selectors’ faith after being picked for series despite limited run due to broken jaw. Has all the attributes – must start putting stamp on game.
Second row: Sam Thaiday
Age: 30 Origins: 22
Always good for a chuckle, the loveable rogue’s disappointment in his game two effort was no laughing matter. Expect a damaging runner to be all business in Origin decider.
Lock: Corey Parker
Age: 33 Origins: 14
Will run out with a target on his head after running battle with NSW interchange enforcer David Klemmer in game two. Kicks goals, gets better with age. Queensland’s Mr Reliable.
Age: 23 Origins: 2
Kept player dubbed future Queensland captain – Daly Cherry-Evans – out of side thanks to versatility.
Age: 23 Origins: 3
Canberra enforcer seen as the man to stop Klemmer after replacing Josh McGuire (Achilles)
Age: 26 Origins: 11
Mobile backrower with wonderful ball skills that provides ideal utility value.
Age: 31 Origins: 10
What you see is what you get from this big-hearted Queensland country boy. Workaholic forward.