Just who will be starting the game remains up in the air, but Queensland will once again be banking on the one-two punch of Ben Hunt and Harry Grant to provide an Origin X-factor in Game One.
Having worked in tandem so successfully last year when Hunt started at dummy half and Grant came off the bench, the Storm No.9 is looking forward to again teaming up with the Dragons skipper to try and inspire a first-up Maroons victory.
“You look at Ben and he's a Queenslander through and through,” Grant said.
“Where he's come from and the position he's in now, you see the way he turns up and plays for Queensland, it's always his heart and soul on the line for the jersey and for the state and I'm just happy that he's in the squad.
“I'm happy to play wherever I have to.
“He's such an integral part of the team and so good to have in camp - that experience and youth, it’s a good mix at the moment.”
Ben Hunt: Behind the scenes
With this year’s Game One team only having the one debutant in Reece Walsh, Grant said the squad was already tight and were shaping up well for their trip to Adelaide.
“It feels like Reece isn't a debutant, he's been in the camps before and, he's playing some incredible footy,” Grant said.
“Everyone's happy to be back in and there's a good vibe, so hopefully we can build this week.”
Named for his sixth appearance in Maroon, Grant made his Origin debut in 2020 in Game Three as part of Wayne Bennett’s squad, then played one match in 2021 when he started the match under Paul Green.
Now part of the second year with Billy Slater at the helm, Grant said while he knows the Storm legend better than most other players in the squad, it was still a privilege to be coached by him this level.
“I actually got to play a game with Bill in 2018 (Round 11), my debut, which was as a young Queenslander growing up, that's pretty special in itself,” Grant told NRL.com.
“And then to deal with him personally with the Melbourne Storm and now with the Queensland Maroons, it's pretty cool.
“You look at all the Origin greats that we got in our coaching staff [Slater, Cameron Smith, Johnathan Thurston and Josh Hannay], they've all got so much detail to the way they play and that's why they had such great careers over a long period of time and they've definitely brought that into their coaching.
DCE lauds Grant’s rookie Maroons performance
“We're lucky that we've got them at the top and can really put ourselves into this camp, buy in and get as much as we can out of it.
“I think it's not just me, it's a number of the guys in the team at the moment that would have been youngsters watching our coaching staff have those dominant years and, put in so many brave courageous performances for Queensland.
“I think we're definitely grateful that we're in this position and also who we get to represent.”
Match: Maroons v Blues
Game 1 -
Venue: Adelaide Oval, Adelaide