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Rugby league great Arthur Beetson.

Arthur Beetson will be "first picked" when the Deadly Maroons side of the past 40 years is named, but good luck filling the rest of the spots in the final 17.

Beetson was the unanimous choice at the launch on Tuesday by the QRL and Deadly Choices of the Deadly Maroons campaign to pick the best Indigenous Maroons side, attended by Queensland Indigenous legends Steve Renouf, Colin Scott and Willie Tonga.

Former Queensland prop Peter Civoniceva, a Deadly Choices ambassador, was also on hand.  

There have been 203 players, known as Former Origin Greats, who have represented the Maroons in the 40-year history of State of Origin.

Of that group, 33 are Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander players, which represents 16.3% of all FOGS. That is a remarkable percentage given that 2.8% of Australia’s population identified as Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander at the last ABS Census in 2016.

Indigenous FOGs trio Colin Scott, Willie Tonga and Steve Renouf.
Indigenous FOGs trio Colin Scott, Willie Tonga and Steve Renouf. ©NRL Photos

"We know Queensland has been great with the number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander players selected and we were the frontrunners in that area between the two states," Renouf said.

"It is amazing that we have that many players on the list to choose from."

Scott, the inaugural Maroons fullback, joined Beetson in 1980 as the first two Indigenous Maroons.

When he looked at the 33-man list, which includes great characters of the game such as Joe Kilroy and Wendell Sailor, he had a job lined up for himself.

"I put it to the Deadly Choices mob that if I could be manager I would be happy with that," Scott grinned.

"It is the best Queensland side I have seen when you look at the names."

Wendell Sailor grapples with Blues duo Andrew Johns and Laurie Daley.
Wendell Sailor grapples with Blues duo Andrew Johns and Laurie Daley. ©NRL Photos

Scott had no doubt his childhood hero would not miss out on selection.

"Arthur is fixed picked. He led us that [1980] night and he inspired a lot of Indigenous players to put on that Maroons jersey," Scott said.

"There are not too many people who get to play with their rugby league idol.

"I remember when we went in the dressing rooms at Lang Park and I was getting changed. Arthur walked over and said 'how are you going Scotty?' and I couldn’t believe it.

"I went down to the phone box after the game, rang my mum and told her that Arthur Beetson knew my name."

The final team, which will be announced in the week leading up to Origin III at Suncorp Stadium, will be chosen by the public with four winners receiving flights, tickets and accommodation to attend.

Click here to assemble your Deadly Maroons team

Nominees: Deadly Maroons 40-Year Origin Team

1. Arthur Beetson
2. Will Chambers
3. Matt Bowen
4. Tony Currie
5. David Fifita
6. Dane Gagai
7. Shannon Hegarty
8. Justin Hodges
9. Greg Inglis
10. Colin Scott
11. Dale Shearer
12. Joe Kilroy
13. Terry Butler
14. Sam Backo
15. Steve Renouf
16. Gorden Tallis
17. Matt Sing
18. Robbie O’Davis
19. Wendell Sailor
20. Carl Webb
21. PJ Marsh
22. Scott Prince
23. Rhys Wesser
24. Willie Tonga
25.Ty Williams
26. Johnathan Thurston
27. Sam Thaiday
28. Dane Nielsen
29. Jharal Yow Yeh
30. John Doyle
31. Daniel Wagon
32. John Buttigieg

33. Les Kiss