Last week we took a look at the members of the Queensland Origin Three squad that are considered absolute locks for selection again this season.
They managed to win Game Three however Queensland did drop the series, and will therefore be considering changes.
A raft of Origin retirements lead to forced changes but the below players and those I expect to come under scrutiny in terms of their position.
As with the New Sales Wales list earlier these are not players I’m saying are no hope. In fact, I expect more than a few to be chosen, but right now as it stands they’re not absolute locks.
Andrew McCullough: For mine, the Broncos rake is in under huge pressure to retain his position. Unfortunately, he didn’t have the greatest Origin series last year. McCullough earned an unexpected, late call-up after the last minute retirement of Cam Smith. He was far from a bust but simply didn’t match the output of his NSW counterpart Damien Cook. Ben Hunt and Jake Friend are probably above him in the pecking order right now, with the Dragons’ number seven being the front runner, having played hooker for the Kangaroos. McCullough has all the talent to retain that jumper but right now looks in danger of dropping off.
Coen Hess: I can’t believe I’m typing this after the way the Cowboys and Maroons monster burst onto the scene. His form has been well below par in 2019. Perhaps it’s me placing too much expectation on the player in the absence of Taumalolo but even Cowboys fans have been critical. Hess is the player many, myself included, saw as the new enforcer of the Maroons pack. He may still get there but right now his form doesn’t warrant an Origin call up. He’ll come good and be named, I’m almost sure, but it’s not a guarantee. David Fifita anyone?
Gavin Cooper: Another Cowboy on the potential chopping block is the veteran Gavin Cooper. Make no mistake he’s still a wonderful player and I’d be leaning more towards picking him than not, but if the Maroons brains trust is looking to refresh the squad than Cooper’s spot is in question. The partnership he had with Thurston was untouchable but that isn’t there any more. That said he was hardly terrible last year. He’ll more than likely be picked but I have a feeling there will be a shock omission somewhere and Cooper looks vulnerable. Matt Gillett looms.
Tim Glasby: Tim Glasby was a shock selection of sorts in 2018. The move to Newcastle was supposed to see Glasby become a bigger minute player but that has not materialised. That’s not to say he hasn’t been playing well, but you have to bring Gillett back, and someone has to make way. Right now Glasby looks like that man. Former teammate Christian Welch also looks an option. He played really well when called up before so maybe he’s closer than I’m giving him credit for.
Dylan Napa: Napa’s recent form was good but an injury suffered over the weekend means the Bulldog big man is in danger of missing game one. I don’t like taking injuries into account here but unfortunately, it is the major factor. Napa has found the line twice already in 2019 and has lifted the pack at the Dogs despite a slowish start to the season. If he’s fit, he’ll probably be selected, but he’s not a must select.
Daly Cherry-Evans: The strangest member of this list comes in the form of arguably the best player on the park in Origin Three, Daly Cherry-Evans. I still think Munster and Morgan are the halves with Ponga at fullback and Hunt/McCullough at nine. That leaves no room for the premiership winner. There’s a chance he’ll step into the seven with Morgan moved to the bench due to his incredible utility value, but right now DCE is third. Milford should be there also but DCE has Origin form on the board whereas his Broncos counterpart does not. I’ll be shocked if he’s not in the squad somewhere but he’s not in a must select position.
Let us know below if any of the above are at risk of not being selected.