How Queensland shapes up for Origin I

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HOW QUEENSLAND SHAPE UP FOR STATE OF ORIGIN I:

Fullback - Kalyn Ponga

Age: 24

Origins: 4

Tries: 0

The elusive fullback will look to repay coach Billy Slater after his call-up despite Newcastle's indifferent NRL form. Still to see his best for the Maroons.

Winger - Selwyn Cobbo

Age: 20

Origins: 0

Tries: 0

His power, speed and fend have drawn comparisons to a young Greg Inglis. Cobbo will be out to prove he's not too young for Origin football as some pundits have predicted.

Valentine Holmes

Age: 26

Origins: 10

Tries: 9

Holmes has reinvented himself as a centre this season but the Maroons will be hoping his try-scoring strike-rate doesn't take a hit with his shift off the wing.

Centre - Dane Gagai

Age: 31

Origins: 19

Tries: 11

With a debutant and five-eighth lining up in the NSW centres, veteran Gagai needs to use his game smarts to get the better of the Blues.

Winger - Xavier Coates

Age: 21

Origins: 5

Tries: 2

Has shown maturity beyond his years in his five Origin appearances. His aerial prowess has prompted the Blues to select Daniel Tupou ahead of Josh Addo-Carr.

Five-eighth - Cameron Munster

Age: 27

Origins: 13

Tries: 1

Munster is back in career-best shape and playing an exciting, confident brand after nearly losing his Melbourne contract.

Halfback - Daly Cherry-Evans (captain)

Age: 33

Origins: 17

Tries: 1

The captain's crowning moment in a 2020 series win was tarnished by last year's trouncing, but Cherry-Evans believes he has the team to orchestrate another Maroons triumph.

Prop - Tino Fa'asuamaleau

Age: 22

Origins: 6

Tries: In rampaging form despite Gold Coast's struggles, the move to prop will mean plenty of ball and some spicy clashes with rival Payne Haas.

Hooker - Ben Hunt

Age: 32

Origins: 11

Tries: 2

Retained at hooker after starring there in a face-saving Game III win for Queensland last season, Hunt is a proven performer at this level.

Prop - Josh Papalii

Age: 30

Origins: 20

Tries: 3

The spiritual leader of the Maroons' pack now has some fresh faces around him to help turn the tables in a forward battle won well by the Blues last year.

Back-rower - Kurt Capewell

Age: 28

Origins: 6

Tries: 1

Has helped turn the Broncos' fortunes around, particularly defensively, since a move from Penrith and will be an important part of that process again for Queensland.

Back-rower - Felise Kaufusi

Age: 30

Origins: 12

Tries: 1

A familiar face in a Queensland back row that will be stinging after last year's series loss and will be keen to prove himself ahead of a 2023 move to the Dolphins.

Lock - Reuben Cotter

Age: 23

Origins: 0

Tries: 0

Handed a massive task up against Blues lock Isaah Yeo, but given the ultimate vote of confidence as one of coach Slater's "first picked" based on his storming 2022 form.

Interchange:

Harry Grant

Age: 24

Origins: 3

Tries: 1

Starting on the bench with Ben Hunt preferred at hooker, Grant says he's over a groin concern and will be keen to poke his nose through a tiring Blues defence.

Lindsay Collins

Age: 26

Origins: 4

Tries: 0

A blue-collar worker who debuted in the successful 2020 Queensland series win, back from an ACL injury and won't shirk his task in the middle.

Patrick Carrigan

Age: 24

Origins: 0

Tries: 0

A terrific return to form with Brisbane since last year's ACL tear has seen the middle forward beat a host of contenders to the bench for his Origin debut.

Jeremiah Nanai

Age: 19

Origins: 0

Tries: 0

The teenager has caught the eye with his aerial prowess as a try-scoring backrower, but has been a workhorse defensively too for the Cowboys.

18th man:

Tom Dearden

Age: 21

Origins: 0

Tries: 0

Superb form for North Queensland has earned the halfback a stay with the squad in a feel-good story for a talent who has sparkled since moving on from Brisbane.

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