The Queensland Maroons have recently announced their 27-man squad for the 2020 State of Origin series.
The squad features 17 players who have never played Origin before.
This new-look squad has seen many punters give the Maroons little chance before the series has even started. However, if you look back through history of Origin, you would know the Maroons thrive in an environment where their backs are against the wall.
Not many expect the young Maroons to win the series in 2020, which means there is little to no expectation or pressure being applied on Queensland due their youth and lack of Origin experience.
On the other hand, all of the pressure and expectation is mounted on New South Wales, having won the past two series and boasting a squad rich in depth and experience.
This creates the perfect storm for a Maroons ambush, similar to that of 1995, 2001 and 2006, when Queensland had record numbers of debutants and were given little to no chance from the get go.
In 1995, Paul ‘Fatty’ Vautin side labelled 'Neville's Nobodies' came out and thrashed the Blues 3-0.
5 - Neville nobodies win unwinnable series
A few years later in 2001, Origin was labelled ‘dead’ and Wayne Bennett debuted a record 10 players who went on to beat the Blues convincingly.
15 - Alfie answers Origin SOS
In 2006, the same pressure and expectation was applied to the New South Wales side looking to win a record three series in a row, only to be beaten and produce a platform for the Maroons to launch their own dynasty spanning over a decade.
2 - Lockyer starts the streak
Fast forward to 2020, and yet again the Maroons find themselves with their backs against the wall.
Ironically the Maroons are just where they want to be.
Harry Grant was never expected to be one of the games best hookers in his debut season.
AJ Brimson was never expected to be lining up in the Maroons squad after succumbing to a broken back earlier in the year.
Corey Allan was never expected to be an equal replacement for Latrell Mitchell.
Brenko Lee was never expected to be playing in a winning team in the 2020 NRL grand final.
Mal Meninga and Wayne Bennett were never expected to make a return to coaching ranks for the Maroons.
Yet here we are.
If there is one thing 2020 has taught us, it is expect the unexpected.