The Maroons have been dealt a number of cruel injury blows in recent weeks, with not only incumbent hooker Andrew McCullough being struck down; but also, Roosters rake Jake Friend who had been pressing his selection case with some red-hot form.
This loss of experience in the Queensland hooking stocks in the NRL have had some pundits calling for former skipper Cameron Smith to make a miraculous return to the Origin arena – something he has ruled out.
Several players - including Jake Granville, Reed Mahoney, Ben Hunt, and even Josh McGuire - have been discussed as potential candidates for the number nine role in 2019.
While all candidates have their merits, Queensland coach Kevin Walters looks poised to go with the more experienced option in Jake Granville, having discussed his credentials at the recent Holden State of Origin launch.
James Segeyaro’s recent signing with the Brisbane Broncos could see a new face enter the race.
Whilst the former Cronulla Sharks ace is yet to play an NRL game in 2019, he is set to make his Brisbane Broncos debut tonight against the Roosters.
Segeyaro is already a seasoned number nine, having played 141 NRL games since making his debut for the NQ Cowboys back in 2011.
The PNG-born hooker has also represented Australia with the Prime Minister’s XIII, and represented the PNG Kumuls at the 2017 Rugby League World Cup; before going on to captain the side in the 2018 Pacific Test against Fiji.
Last season, Segeyaro made 26 appearances for the Cronulla and was a pivotal performer when coming off the bench for the Sharks.
Having spent the past few weeks in the NSW Canterbury Cup, the 28-year-old will no doubt have a point to prove when he runs out at Suncorp Stadium tonight.
If Segeyaro can rediscover the form that saw him named 2014 Dally M Hooker of the Year in the coming weeks, don’t be surprised to see his name thrown up as a potential dark horse option for the Queensland Maroons.