Forward firepower for Queensland


Brad Fittler and Billy Slater are just days away from announcing their squads for of game one of State of Origin at the Adelaide Oval on 31 May.

Ahead of the series we’ve stepped into the shoes of head coach and picked a 1-17 for both sides. It’s the turn of reigning champions Queensland. Unlike the blues, Queensland are stacked with forwards on career best form and it was a tough job to fit as many of them as possible in the side.

  1. Reece Walsh – Walsh is thriving since returning to the Broncos and has wrestled the shirt away from Kayln Ponga in my side. His lightning speed will make any defensive line worry and he is not scared to play off the cuff when he sees a chance.
  2. Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow – Wayne Bennett has turned the Hammer from the forgotten man into one of the form players in the NRL. He just gets into the side over Murray Taulagi for me and his speed alongside Walsh could provide deadly on the edge.
  3. Valentine Holmes – A veteran of the side, he brings some experience to a young backline. Holmes has been solid for the Cowboys despite their horror start and his accurate goal kicking makes him a valuable asset.
  4. Dane Gagai – Gagai has been ever present in the maroons side since his debut in 2015. At 32 he has played 22 times for his state and scored 12 times.
  5. Selwyn Cobbo – Cobbo is the final piece of a youthful back three for Queensland. He has a mistake in him but he more than makes up for it, scoring 25 tries in just 35 appearances for the Broncos since his debut in 2021.
  6. Cameron Munster – The mad dog is the key to success for Queensland. Throughout his career he has turned up in the big games and won everything there is to win with his club, state and country. Munster is the ultimate off the cuff player which makes him a nightmare to defend.
  7. Daly Cherry-Evans – A calming influence next to Munster. DCE is in the final years of his career but is still at the top of his game. He has a deadly kicking game that is capable of pinning the blues deep inside his own half. He also loves a 40/20.
  8. Tino Fa’asuamaleaui – The Titans captain has been huge in the middle for the Gold Coast in their strong start to 2023. Big Tino has been playing big minutes and Queensalnd will be looking for him to get through a mountain of work early on.
  9. Ben Hunt – Why break up a winning combination? Despite playing halfback for his club, Hunt is one of the best hookers in the league and acts as the perfect foil for Harry Grant off the bench. He can also cover any injuries in the halves.
  10. Lindsay Collins – Josh Papalii was initially in my team but his origin retirement has meant that Collins has found himself in the starting side. Collins has been solid this year for the roosters and has plenty of origin experience.
  11. Felise Kafusi – Kafusi is another Queenslander revitalised by Wayne Bennett at the Dolphins. Phin diesel, as he is affectionately known, has become the scourge of every edge player in the league with his bone rattling tackles. No doubt he will love the chance to go after his old teammate Munster.
  12. David Fifita – Fifita regains a spot in the Queensland second row in my team. After a poor 2022 he looks to be close to his best this year. His size and speed can unlock any defence and he will be a constant threat on the edge.
  13. Patrick Carrigan – The Broncos captain is building year on year and is a colossus in the middle alongside Haas for the high flying Broncos. He averages over one tackle break and an offload a game this year through ten rounds.
  14. Harry Grant – Grant is the best hooker in the game and his combination with Munster is deadly. Coming off the bench allows him to get into the game as the forwards tire, giving him time and space to run from dummy half.
  15. Reuben Cotter – A man who plays well above his weight. Cotter is a lock in this team for me despite being part of a poor Cowboys side because of his work rate. In his only game of Origin last year he played 80 minutes and made 51 tackles.
  16. Tom Gilbert – Gilbert is made for Origin and impressed in game three last year. He’s been playing big minutes for the Dolphins and loves hard work through the middle, averaging 38 tackles and 13 hit ups per game.
  17. Mo Fotuaika – Fotuaika is in the kind of form that saw him debut for the maroons in 2020. Alongside Tino he is instrumental to the success of the titans forwards pack. He’s averaging 157 running metres per game and is playing well over 60 minutes each game.

Honourable mention – Corey Horsburgh. Big red is in career best form and he could’ve easily been in that 17 jersey in my team. He makes big metres through the middle, especially post contact, and plays with a raw passion for the jersey that you need to be successful in Origin. It’s no coincidence that Canberra have hit a purple patch of form now he is playing big minutes.

Have we got it right? Let us know who you would have in your side for game one.

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