Maroons Under 20s coach Kevin Walters believes the groundwork from the Queensland Academy of Sport (QAS) training camps held earlier this year will prove invaluable when his team plays New South Wales in Saturday night’s annual representative match.
“These players are the future of State of Origin,” Walters said.
“The majority of our players who have been named today were involved in our QAS Junior Emerging Origin squad earlier this year, so it shows our selectors are not only getting it right, but the players themselves are improving all the time and benefiting from the pathways on offer.
“We’ve got a really good mix of players who have been involved in the Under 20s, Intrust Super Cup and NSW Cup, as well as a number of players with National Rugby League experience,” Walters said.
Anthony Milford and Corey Oates are regulars with their respective NRL clubs, while a number of other squad members are on the fringe of top grade selection.
Raiders livewire Milford will take on a leadership role.
“We’re delighted to have Anthony in the Queensland team,” Walters said.
“We understand there is going to be a lot of discussion around eligibility, but this is a pretty simple one – Anthony is eligible for Queensland, he wants to play for the Maroons and he’s been selected.
“Anthony has been right through our pathways, from club football with the Souths Logan Magpies through to the Queensland Academy of Sport squad and various Queensland under age representative teams.”
Milford is one of nine players from the 2013 Queensland Under 20s squad who will chase redemption this year after NSW’s convincing 36-12 win.
The others are Nene MacDonald, Brenko Lee, John Folau, Lloyd Perrett, Kierran Moseley, Corey Oates, Luke Bateman and Francis Molo.
Queensland Under 20s
1. Valentine HOLMES (Cronulla Sharks)
2. Nene MACDONALD (Sydney Roosters)
3. Brenko LEE (Canberra Raiders)
4. Brendan ELLIOT (Sydney Roosters)
5. John FOLAU (Parramatta Eels)
6. Anthony MILFORD (Canberra Raiders)
7. Jaelen FEENEY (Newcastle Knights)
8. Lloyd PERRETT (Canterbury Bulldogs)
9. Kierran MOSELEY (Penrith Panthers)
10. Christian WELCH (Melbourne Storm)
11. Corey OATES (Brisbane Broncos)
12. Patrick MAGO (Canberra Raiders)
13. Luke BATEMAN (Canberra Raiders)
14. Cameron MUNSTER (Melbourne Storm)
15. Francis MOLO (Brisbane Broncos)
16. Brett GREINKE (Brisbane Broncos)
17. Joe OFAHENGAUE (Brisbane Broncos)
18. Jayden NIKORIMA (Brisbane Broncos)
Coach: Kevin Walters