Five Storm players earn Maroons call-up

Melissa Woods
·2-min read

Five Melbourne players have been rewarded with selection in the Queensland State of Origin squad including debutants Tino Fa'asuamaleaui and Brenko Lee.

The Storm players got the good news after their 26-20 NRL grand final win over Penrith, while the Panthers had one player in back-rower Kurt Capewell named in the 27-man squad.

Capewell is also in line for a debut, taking the tally of uncapped Maroons in the Wayne Bennett's squad to 17.

The other three players from Melbourne are playmaker Cameron Munster, prop Christian Welch and second-rower Felise Kaufusi, who were all part of last year's campaign.

While Queensland's backline has been decimated by injury, Lee put his hand up with some consistent performances in his first season with the Storm - his fourth NRL club.

Maroons selector, former great Billy Slater, said there were some changes with Bennett taking over from Kevin Walters, who stepped down from the position to take on the Brisbane role.

"There were a couple of different views there but we've had a few injuries and we've had to deal with them," Slater told Nine Network after the grand final.

"It's quite an inexperienced squad ... but we're going to lean on the experienced guys like Daly Cherry-Evans, Josh Papalii, Cameron Munster and the like."

Slater likened this year's selection to 1995 and also the 2006 team, when there were a few players who weren't obvious picks.

"There were a lot of players in those teams who people probably raised their eyebrows at but whenever you pull on that Queensland jersey you're expected to perform at a certain level and we expect no different," Slater said.

The opening State of Origin match is in Adelaide on November 4 with the grand final players joining the Maroons camp on the Gold Coast midweek.

Queensland State of Origin Squad: Jai Arrow (Gold Coast), AJ Brimson (Gold Coast), Moeaki Fotuaika (Gold Coast), Phillip Sami (Gold Coast), Edrick Lee (Newcastle), Hymel Hunt (Newcastle), Valentine Holmes (North Queensland), Coen Hess (North Queensland), Xavier Coates (Brisbane), Patrick Carrigan (Brisbane), Ben Hunt (St George Illawarra), Josh Kerr (St George Illawarra), Harry Grant (Wests Tigers / Melbourne), Daly Cherry-Evans (Manly), Jake Friend (Sydney Roosters), Lindsay Collins (Sydney Roosters), Jaydn Su'A (South Sydney, Corey Allan (South Sydney), Dane Gagai (South Sydney), Dunamis Lui (Canberra), Kurt Capewell (Penrith), Tino Fa'asuamaleaui (Melbourne), Brenko Lee (Melbourne), Cameron Munster (Melbourne), Christian Welch (Melbourne), Felise Kaufusi (Melbourne)