Kevin Walters will unveil his Queensland team for State of Origin I.
Kevin Walters will unveil his Queensland team for State of Origin I.

ORIGIN: Walters unveils new-look Maroons for Origin I

QUEENSLAND coach Kevin Walters will this morning unveil his Maroons side for the State of Origin series opener.

With Cameron Smith, Johnathan Thurston and Cooper Cronk all retired from representative duty, it shapes as one of the most intriguing team selections in recent memory.

Walters was upbeat about Queensland's new guard during the announcement.

"I'm really excited for those players and what they can do now. It's their Maroon jumper"

Greg Inglis will captain Queensland, while Ben Hunt and Cameron Munster are the new-look halves pairings. Hooker Andrew McCullough, second-rower Felise Kaufusi and bench forward Jai Arrow are the debutants. 

Among the many decisions made, he said it was "very difficult" to overlook Matt Scott.

"He's been playing some good football for the Cowboys but we just felt that it's in the best interests of the team, for game one, to go without him."

When asked about why Valentine Holmes got the nod over Darius Boyd and Corey Oates, he said: "Just at the moment we feel he's the best option for us on the left wing."

OFFICIAL: QUEENSLAND STATE OF ORIGIN TEAM FOR GAME ONE

1 Billy Slater

2 Valentine Holmes

3 Greg Inglis (c)

4 Will Chambers

5 Dane Gagai

6 Cameron Munster

7 Ben Hunt

8 Dylan Napa

9 Andrew McCullough

10 Jarrod Wallace

11 Gavin Cooper

12 Felise Kaufusi

13 Josh McGuire

14 Michael Morgan

15 Josh Papalii

16 Coen Hess

17 Jai Arrow

Walters says he's not concerned by the form of North Queensland trio Michael Morgan, Gavin Cooper, Coen Hess despite the Cowboys' struggles in the NRL this season.

When asked about debutant Jai Arrow, Walters said "we just couldn't ignore his form. He's been playing some great football all year."

When it came to Kalyn Ponga, who was spoken about a lot by Queensland selectors: "No doubt he's going to play for Queensland one day, just when that is I guess that's in the hands of the football gods."

Gene Miles confirms Broncos young gun Joe Ofahengaue is on the fringe of selection and will come into Maroons camp at some stage.

 

News Corp Australia

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