Queensland Rugby League is pleased to announce the first group of players selected in the Queensland Maroons squad for next month’s State of Origin series.
Maroons selectors have chosen 15 players from seven clubs who have completed their National Rugby League commitments in 2020.
The Gold Coast Titans have the greatest representation with four players – Jai Arrow, AJ Brimson, Moeaki Fotuaika and Phillip Sami.
They are joined by Kalyn Ponga, Edrick Lee and Hymel Hunt (Newcastle Knights), Valentine Holmes and Coen Hess (North Queensland Cowboys), Patrick Carrigan and Xavier Coates (Brisbane Broncos), and Ben Hunt and Josh Kerr (St George Illawarra Dragons); with Harry Grant (Wests Tigers / Melbourne Storm) and Daly Cherry-Evans (Manly Sea Eagles) rounding out the initial 15.
Ponga will consult with a surgeon tomorrow before a final decision is made on his availability.
Additional players will be added to the squad as further teams are eliminated from the NRL finals series.
Nine players have yet to make their senior Queensland debuts, meaning the Maroons are poised to inject a fresh wave of talent into the Origin arena under the guidance of newly-appointed coach Wayne Bennett.
“We’ve got an exciting mix of both emerging and seasoned talent in the squad so far and we’re really pleased to be able to announce this group today after what has been a challenging period for the game,” Bennett said.
“The players named in this squad today will have a small window to freshen up before commencing work with our high performance team to ensure they are in peak condition for the series.”
Queensland selectors will confirm the squad of 27 players after the NRL grand final on October 25, the same day the Maroons will enter camp to formally begin preparations for the series opener at the Adelaide Oval on November 4.
Bennett also confirmed a new addition to his support team, with former Cowboys and Titans coach Neil Henry returning to work in camp Maroon as an assistant coach. He replaces Justin Hodges.
Queensland Maroons squad members
Jai Arrow - Gold Coast Titans
AJ Brimson - Gold Coast Titans
Moeaki Fotuaika - Gold Coast Titans
Phillip Sami - Gold Coast Titans
Valentine Holmes - North Queensland Cowboys
Coen Hess - North Queensland Cowboys
Xavier Coates - Brisbane Broncos
Patrick Carrigan - Brisbane Broncos
Edrick Lee - Newcastle Knights
Hymel Hunt - Newcastle Knights
Kalyn Ponga - Newcastle Knights
Ben Hunt - St George Illawarra Dragons
Josh Kerr - St George Illawarra Dragons
Harry Grant - Wests Tigers / Melbourne Storm
Daly Cherry-Evans - Manly Sea Eagles
* Additional players will be added following NRL finals matches