With Origin approaching I name my squad to keep the bragging rights – and title – north of the border where it belongs. I have made a few changes for obvious reasons, and am pretty certain this is fairly close to what selectors will go with.
Coach Kevin Walters has recently guaranteed places for Origin One to veterans Greg Inglis and Matt Scott, vowing not to make the same mistake he made by leaving Billy Slater out of Game One last year.
MY MAROONS SQUAD PREDICTION
My Maroons Squad – Game One, 2018
Billy Slater (1)
Valentine Holmes (2): The Kangaroos and Maroons flyer has copped plenty of criticism over his club form, but his speed and skill out wide will mean Origin selection. His 14 tries in 11 Tests for Australia and a stunning debut series for Queensland last year will definitely work in his favour.
Greg Inglis (3)
Will Chambers (4)
Dane Gagai (5)
Cameron Munster (6): One of the best halves in the comp – and he’s only 23 years old. Proved what he had when given his Origin debut in 2017. Combinations with Smith and Slater allow him ease of play.
Michael Morgan (7)
Dylan Napa (8)
Cameron Smith (9)
Jarrod Wallace (10)
Felise Kaufusi (11): Bolter of the year! Has been on track to debut for the Maroons and will get his chance this year. Produced more offloads than any Melbourne forward in 2017 while also scoring eight tries.
Gavin Cooper (12)
Jai Arrow (13): to debut.
Ben Hunt (14): As a key cornerstone of the Dragons unbeaten start to the NRL season you can see why he is in the frame to wear the number seven after making his debut off the bench in Origin III last year. Taking into consideration recent conflict with Munster, and Morgan’s record during big games, leaves the St George star on the bench.
Coen Hess (15)
Matt Scott (16)
Josh McGuire (17)
Sam Thaiday, Darius Boyd, Corey Oates, Matt Gillett