State of Origin returns to its mid-season slot after the COVID-19 pandemic pushed 2020’s showpiece series back to the end of the year.
Queensland, led by new coach Paul Green after Wayne Bennett stepped down to focus on his duties at South Sydney Rabbitohs, will be looking to retain their crown after clinching their first Origin series win since 2017 last November.
The Maroons were taken to a series decider by New South Wales before running out 20-14 winners at Suncorp Stadium.
The squads are taking shape as the two teams prepare to lock horns on Wednesday 9 June.
New South Wales
Brad Fittler has named six players from NRL leaders Penrith Panthers as he bids to guide the Blues to Origin victory.
Debutant Jarome Luai has been named in the halves alongside fellow Panthers playmaker Nathan Cleary, while Brian To’o and Liam Martin are also set for their first Origin starts.
There are six changes in total from the final game of the 2020 Origin series, with Cody Walker, Clint Gutherson, Daniel Tupou, Dale Finucane, Nathan Brown and Angus Crichton making way.
Penrith hooker Api Koroisau and South Sydney’s Campbell Graham have been named as reserves for Game I.
New South Wales: Tedesco, To’o, Mitchell, T.Trbojevic, Addo-Carr, Luai, Cleary, Saifiti, Cook, J.Trbojevic, Murray, Sims, Yeo, Wighton, Paulo, Haas, Martin, Koroisau, Graham.
Queensland coach Paul Green has named a 20-man squad of the opening game.
Harry Grant has been selected to start at hooker, with Reed Mahoney being listed on the extended bench alongside Kyle Feldt, who could also make his debut.
Cameron Munster (foot), Kalyn Ponga (groin) and Grant (hamstring) face a race against time to be fit for next Wednesday’s opener.
Queensland: Arrow, Brimson, Capewell, Cherry-Evans, Coates, Fa’asuamaleaui, Feldt, Fifita, Fotuaika, Gagai, Grant, Hess, Holmes, Kaufusi, Mahoney, Munster, Ofahengaue, Ponga, Su’A, Welch.
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