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Tuesday, 7 May 2013

Origin 2013: Predicted Queensland Maroons Team for Game 1 #Origin1 #NSWvQLD

QLD MAROONS TEAM - GAME 1
Predicting what Mal Meninga goes with against NSW

2013 NRL Premiership

By W D Nicolson - May 7, 2013 |


May 26 Update: Below appears to be the likeliest of likely squads for Game 1. We will update it after Monday's announcement.
The confirmed NSW and QLD Game 1 Teams are here

QLD SQUAD FOR GAME 1
1. Billy SLATER
2. Darius BOYD (Justin O'Neill on standby)
3. Greg INGLIS
4. Justin HODGES
5. Brent TATE
6. Johnathan THURSTON
7. Cooper CRONK
8. Matthew SCOTT
9. Cameron SMITH (c)
10. David SHILLINGTON
11. Nate MYLES
12. Sam THAIDAY
13. Ashley HARRISON
BENCH:
14. Corey PARKER

15. Matt GILLETT
16. Ben TE'O
17. Chris McQUEEN
18. Daly CHERRY-EVANS
19. Josh PAPALII
COACH: Mal MENINGA

PLEASE NOTE: This initial QLD squad was predicted on Tuesday May 7 - we will endeavour to update this squad with any injuries that occur before the team is named in late May.
Our NSW Squad is here
Who makes Meninga's Maroons for Game 1? Find out below...
The Meninga Mail: Injury the only possible variable in Queensland's thoughts for Game 1.

When you win 7 series in a row - this article writes itself, and for Meninga and his selectors - the Queensland team picks itself.

But as you'll find in the next few paragraphs here on www.wdnicolson.com, the issue for the Maroons isn't who to pick if everyone is healthy... but rather who to pick if injury or suspension hits?*

2013 State of Origin Schedule
Game 1: ANZ Stadium, Sydney – June 5
Game 2: Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane – June 26
Game 3: ANZ Stadium, Sydney – July 17

* Or perish the thought Queenslanders... NSW actually win Game 1 convincingly.

Plus we pick our own QLD 17 - the one we think would give QLD the best chance of continuing their ridiculous dominance... and avoid a series loss for the first time since 2005.

May 19 Update: SCOUTING REPORTS ON ALL CONTENDERS IN ROUND 10 HERE.

FULLBACK
Billy SLATER (Incumbent)
Greg INGLIS
Darius BOYD
Ben BARBA
Matthew BOWEN
Corey NORMAN
FULLBACK SKINNY: Slater is the man, no need to write much else. But geesh isn't there some options for the #1 if he wasn't available! Could QLD go wrong with any of them?
VERDICTSee above - it is Mr Slater folks.
WINGERS
Darius BOYD (Incumbent)
Brent TATE (Incumbent)
Justin O'NEILL
Will CHAMBERS
Dane NIELSEN
Dane GAGAI
Ashley GRAHAM
Edrick LEE
Daniel VIDOT
WINGER SKINNY: Boyd and Tate aren't wingers... but they will be for Game 1. That leads us to the question mark over who would come in if either were unavailable.
O'Neill is probably next in line due to his experience on the wing, while Nielsen and Chambers have spent a lot more time at centre. The roughie might be Gagai, while Graham is the most experienced actual winger available. Lee and Vidot are on this list simply because there's no one else.
VERDICTIt'll be Boyd and Tate.
CENTRES
Greg INGLIS (Incumbent)
Justin HODGES (Incumbent)
Brent TATE
Will CHAMBERS
Dane NIELSEN
Justin O'NEILL
Dane GAGAI
CENTRE SKINNY: The Australian centres are automatic selections here, with Tate and Nielsen the next in line due to the selector loyalty that they've built up over the years. Chambers is a hot and cold type who would either be great at Origin or a liability, while O'Neill and Gagai are the x-factor value selections.
VERDICTHodges and Inglis are morals.
FIVE-EIGHTH
Johnathan THURSTON (Incumbent)
Scott PRINCE
Corey NORMAN
FIVE-EIGHTH SKINNY: JT is JT... Prince is well and truly past it and Norman is the kind of pick that could set up QLD at five-eighth when JT retires.
VERDICT: Thurston of course. If QLD actually picked Prince over Norman (should they not put DCE to #6 as a stop-gap) then they open the door for NSW should JT be injured in a big way.
Check out the Predicted NSW Team here
HALFBACK
Cooper CRONK (Incumbent)
Daly CHERRY-EVANS
Chris SANDOW
Scott PRINCE
HALFBACK SKINNY: Cronk is so good he could probably play any position... DCE goes alright as the backup doesn't he? The Manly halfback looks a prime 18th man candidate as well with his extra toughness in defence. Sandow and Prince are the backups to the backups.
VERDICTYou know the answer... much like the rest of the backline picked so far.
FRONT ROWERS
Matthew SCOTT (Incumbent)
David SHILLINGTON (Incumbent)
Ben HANNANT (Incumbent) INJURED
Josh McGUIRE
Jacob LILLYMAN
Scott BOLTON
Martin KENNEDY
Ben ROSS
Scott ANDERSON
FRONT ROWER SKINNY: With Petero Civoniceva retiring from the NRL (but not league altogether as he's currently playing for Redcliffe in the QLD Cup), there may be a front row spot available for Game 1. Scott is the #8 and the other starting spot comes down to Shillington v Hannant (before injury) in all likelihood. But don't rule out the Maroons using Thaiday and Myles up front, or even Corey Parker. However if Thaiday and Myles are considered as props in the rotation at some point - that effectively takes away the open prop spot that Civoniceva's absence creates. McGuire hasn't got the runs on the board this season due to injury, while Lillyman has been out of sight with the Warriors' struggles. Kennedy is making a late run for a spot with strong form at the Roosters. Bolton now plays as a rotation prop for the Cowboys and might come into roughie consideration but Ross and Anderson are emergency options only... like 6 forwards hurt emergency options.
VERDICTScott is a nailed on starter, while if QLD want to maintain their regular starting backrow - Shillington or Hannant will start alongside Scott. The other will be on the bench. Can't see a spot for McGuire or Lillyman even with no Petero.
15/5 Update: Hannant does a calf in Round 9... won't be playing in origin 1. Door now open for McGuire and Lillyman... or a backrower.
HOOKER
Cameron SMITH (Incumbent)
Matt BALLIN
Andrew McCULLOUGH
Kevin KINGSTON
Jake FRIEND
Matt SRAMA
Nathan FRIEND
Shaun BERRIGAN
HOOKER SKINNY: Smith, Smith and Smith. That's option 1, 2 and 3 for QLD. Ballin will be the emergency selection should anything happen to Smith, while McCullough might be the true heir to Smith's throne. But look at the embarrassment of riches behind that trio: Kingston, Friend, Srama, Friend and Berrigan (utility value and Origin history his biggest asset).
HOOKER VERDICTSMITH! However if QLD want to pick a forward utility - McCullough would be a savvy selection given he can play lock - as can Smith.
BACKROWERS
Nate MYLES (Incumbent) (Hurt)
Sam THAIDAY (Incumbent)
Ashley HARRISON
Corey PARKER (Incumbent)
Ben TE'O (Incumbent)
Matt GILLETT (Incumbent)
Dave TAYLOR
Josh PAPALII
Dallas JOHNSON
Gavin COOPER
Aidan GUERRA
Chris McQUEEN
Neville COSTIGAN
Michael CROCKER (Currently injured)
David STAGG (Currently injured)
BACKROW SKINNY: Harrison will be the lock forward if he's over his ankle injury, meaning Parker will go back to the bench. That basically means all six incumbents (Harrison missed Game 3 last year) will be in the squad - with Myles and Thaiday certainties, Gillett the next best thing and Te'o the man under most pressure. The door remains open to Taylor if he can have two big weeks for the Titans but he's slipping off the radar, while Papalii's recent knee injury may well have robbed him of the chance to push for Te'o's spot in Game 1. Johnson would be a smart emergency replacement if needed, McQueen offers utility value, while Cooper fell out of contention in the past month (if he was in contention before that). The rest - name your price.
VERDICT: Myles-Thaiday-Harrison will be the 11-12-13. There's a chance Thaiday or Myles could start at prop with Gillett or Parker into the starting backrow however. Te'o might just get over the line for the final bench spot, while Taylor and Papalii are probably next in line (form and injury permitting).
15/5 Update: With Hannant out, Myles now picks up a calf strain of his own. He might make Game 1, but even if he doesn't - Thaiday may be destined for the front row to cover Hannant. Taylor and Papalii now look decent chances...

QLD SQUAD FOR GAME 1
1. Billy SLATER
2. Darius BOYD
3. Greg INGLIS
4. Justin HODGES
5. Brent TATE
6. Johnathan THURSTON
7. Cooper CRONK
8. Matthew SCOTT
9. Cameron SMITH (c)
10. David SHILLINGTON
11. Nate MYLES (Hurt)
12. Sam THAIDAY
13. Ashley HARRISON
BENCH:
14. Ben HANNANT (Dave TAYLOR/Josh PAPALII)
15. Corey PARKER
16. Ben TE'O
17. Matt GILLETT
18. Daly CHERRY-EVANS/Dane NIELSEN/Justin O'NEILL
COACH: Mal MENINGA
VERDICT: Harrison (if fit) will replace the retired Petero Civoniceva in the squad, while Parker, Gillett and Te'o are incumbents from Game 3 last year - so they should keep Taylor, McGuire and Lillyman out of Game 1. There are only three outside back alternatives really, with Justin O'Neill, Will Chambers and Dane Nielsen (if fit) - the only possible threats to Brent Tate's wing spot. There are a few positions that don't have superb depth - but with superstars everywhere - who needs depth huh Queensland?
So it looks like we've got our 17 locked in with Daly Cherry-Evans or one of those outside backs the likely 18th man.
UPDATE 15/5: With Hannant out of the running, Taylor, Lillyman and Papalii should be the trio QLD selectors consider. DCE remains my prediction for 18th man with Nielsen hurt.
For the record - @NRLTweet's QLD squad would be whatever QLD pick... only once NSW beat them does this discussion become relevant again.
Who do you think Meninga picks for Game 1? 
List your predicted 17 below and if you wish - the team you would pick as well.
Comment on this feature below or by replying on Twitter.
The NRL Injury List is updated regularly during each week of the season, making it an invaluable Fantasy and Tipping Tool alongside our Weekly NRL Previews once again.

Remember if you want game-specific Late Mail every week, then check out our Round Previews Every Wednesday and they are updated with all the very latest Late Mail on Friday.

If we are missing any players on this list - please comment below, reply on Twitter or email this address.
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The Prestigious Award returns for a 4th season in 2013.


@NRLTweet Player of the Year Award Voters:
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Justin Davies @dragonpunk12 | Greg Delaney @gregdelaney84
Matt Spillane @devonhead | Matt Trodden @trods2906
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Adrian McMurray @adrmcm | Matthew Duncan @mrpeninsula
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