State of Origin Game I is fast approaching with Suncorp Stadium to host the series opener on June 5 – a mere four weeks away – and diehard Maroons fans are eager to see who will be in the final 17 come game day.
There is no denying the fact that in 2019; the Maroons will be the underdogs when they run onto the field – but the Queensland Origin story is built on grit, a whole lot of spirit and people being picked to do a job giving their all and doing just that.
No matter what coach Kevin Walters and the selectors have in mind, they will be forced to make some changes from the successful 2018 Game III team.
Fullback and captain in that game Billy Slater has retired, while try-scoring winger Valentines Holmes has left the NRL to pursue his dream of an NFL berth.
Greg Inglis: Maroons State of Origin highlights
The 13th captain of the Maroons Greg Inglis – the greatest try scorer in the history of Origin – earlier this year announced his retirement from the game.
Hooker Andrew McCullough is the latest incumbent player to have suffered an unfortunate injury blow; while others who were in the selection mix in Jake Friend (pectoral) and Corey Norman (fractured cheekbone) will also need time to recover.
With plenty of football left to play until the team is announced, there are sure to be players who put their hands up for selection before the Queensland Maroons series launch on May 27 where all will be revealed.
- Here is the list (ever growing with more NRL graduates emerging each season) of Queensland Men's State of Origin eligible players (and criteria) where the Maroons selectors will find the players to best represent the state.
A number of players have been earmarked for future honours; having featured in the QRL’s Emerging Origin camps in recent seasons, with a the camp having a proven track record in producing Origin players of the future.
Some also have been part of the QRL's junior representative teams - with the Queensland Under 20 side (pictured below) claiming the Darren Lockyer Shield for the first time last year.