BRISBANE, AUSTRALIA - MAY 28: Debutants Andrew McCullough, Felise Kaufusi and Jai Arrow pose for a photo during a Queensland Maroons State of Origin media opportunity at Rydges Southbank on May 28, 2018 in Brisbane, Australia. (Photo by Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images)

Queensland's new-look Origin side has been announced. Kevin Walter had some monster calls to make, with the likes of Oates, Boyd, Holmes and Gagai battling for two spots.

With a new look spine ready to lead the Maroons into the 2018 series, we take a look at the breakdown of the 17 who will represent the sunshine state.


Wing genius: In Dane Gagai and Valentine Holmes, the Maroons have the two most lethal rep wingers in recent time. Holmes set records with ease in the recent World Cup while Gagai has been Queensland's best in previous seasons. The outside backs have long been the difference in the series with Holmes and Gagai giving Morris and Ferguson a bath in game three last year. Holmes is in supreme form for the Sharks while Gagai is starting to look very good for the Bunnies. Tommy Turbo and Josh Addo-Carr have a mouth-watering clash ahead of them, and one they need to win.

In form spine: Billy Slater is riding high, Cameron Munster continues to get better and better, while Ben Hunt is one of the form halves of the combination. Throw in Andrew McCullough, who I honestly can't ever remembering suffering a real form slump, and you have an in form and firing 1, 6, 7 and 9. Obviously, a lot will depend on QLD's pack to create play the ball speed and space for the creative men, if the game is tight the Maroons have the cattle. With all due respect, it's not Thurston, Cronk and Smith, but what a line-up all the same.

All-star centre pairing: The greatest Origin player of the modern era teams with premiership and world cup winning centre Will Chambers to form the best centre partnership in world football. This could be where game one is won and lost. GI and Chambers are supremely talented and even more experienced. They will line up against two first-time rep footballers with plenty of questions in their defence. If Queensland are victorious in game one you can almost bet it will come on the back of a huge game from Inglis.

Queensland Maroons Media Opportunity
BRISBANE, AUSTRALIA - MAY 28: (Editors note: This image has been converted to black and white.) Greg Inglis poses for a photo during a Queensland Maroons State of Origin media opportunity at Rydges Southbank on May 28, 2018 in Brisbane, Australia. (Photo by Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images)


A prop short?: The likes of Hess, Papalii and Arrow are hardly small men coming off the bench, but I can't help but feel like the Maroons are a prop short. Jarrod Wallace can play big minutes but Dylan Napa is not known for his long stints in combat. Papalii will likely come off the bench at prop or will slot into lock allowing McGuire to take up the middle role. With Vaughan coming off the bench for the Blues, I really think the NSW'men have the advantage up front.

Inexperience: Although the Blues will blood far more first-time rep players, the Queenslanders have lost Thurston, Cronk and Smith in one swoop. Matt Gillett is also sitting in the stands watching on while Josh McGuire is massively under-cooked. A lot will fall on the likes of Slater and Inglis having lost the players they have. When Origin has been tight it has been Cronk, Thurston and Smith to guide the side to victory. Who stands up in their absence?


Dylan Napa named to start.

Truth be told I didn't see Napa being selected. His form this season has not been good and his minutes have not been high enough to really break down the walls and demand selection. He is an Origin player, big, aggressive and talented, but I'm shocked he was chosen over Scott. Although the Cowboys legend may miss the game through suspension, reports indicate he was not being chosen regardless. I really expect a late switch to see Napa come off the bench. RCG, Klemmer and Vaughan present a huge advantage for the Blues.

during a Queensland Maroons State of Origin training session on May 29, 2018 in Brisbane, Australia.


Despite the three MASSIVE outs, and we're talking two certain immortals and a possible third here, this is a very, very good side. Any side featuring the likes of Slater, Inglis, Hunt and Hunt is going to put on an attacking masterclass. I'm really excited to see what the new generation can produce.

New South Wales will enter the series the short money favourites but I just can't see why that is. Across the two sides, the Queenslanders have the best two players in Slater and Inglis. Will Chambers is at tiny odds to bath his opposition centre in defence. Throw in a hugely improved Ben Hunt and a keen to impress Michael Morgan off the bench and Queensland don't look like they'll surrender the shield without one hell of a fight.