Queensland Maroons confirm State of Origin line-up for Game 2

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    The Queensland Maroons have finally locked in their team in for Game 2, with coach Kevin Walters springing a few surprises, including naming Darius Boyd in the centres.

    »All the latest State of Origin team news

    With the Maroons team named alphabetically on Monday, Walters revealed his 17 on Friday morning, with Billy Slater and Johnathan Thurston confirmed to make their returns.

    Dane Gagai, who was one of Queensland’s best in Game 1, has been retained on the wing despite his backline versatility. This pushes Darius Boyd, one of the most prolific try scorers in Origin history to the centres as Billy Slater claims the fullback spot, playing his first Origin game in two years.

    Whether they will take the field that way is another question given Boyd has never played in the centres, but Walters naming it that way suggests he has plenty of faith in Gagai to do a similar job to the one he did in the series opener.

    Johnathan Thurston is also back in the halves, partnering Cooper Cronk. The pair has won ten Origin games together and will be aiming to make it 11 at Homebush on Wednesday, with the series on the line.

    Gold Coast Titans prop Jarrod Wallace has been named in the props after overcoming a shoulder charge judiciary case during the week. There was talk he would come off the bench with Josh Papalii to shift into the front row, but that notion has been put to bed with Wallace named in the no.10 jersey.

    Papalii has been given a role by coach Walters to come off the bench and cause some damage, with Cowboys second rower Gavin Cooper named in the starting side. Given his combination with Johnathan Thurston, it could present a challenge for the Blues to contain.

    The two other men brought into the team – Coen Hess and Tim Glasby – will make their debuts off the bench, with Walters not making any other changes to the starting 13 from Game 1.

    Cameron Munster has also been added to the squad as 18th man and is expected to link up with the Maroons camp on Sunday after the Storm host the Cowboys on Saturday evening.

    Queensland Maroons team for Game 2

    1. Billy Slater
    2. Valentine Holmes
    3. Will Chambers
    4. Darius Boyd
    5. Dane Gagai
    6. Johnathan Thurston
    7. Cooper Cronk
    8. Dylan Napa
    9. Cameron Smith (c)
    10. Jarrod Wallace
    11. Gavin Cooper
    12. Matt Gillett
    13. Josh McGuire
    14. Michael Morgan
    15. Josh Papalii
    16. Coen Hess
    17. Tim Glasby

    18th man: Cameron Munster

    Scott Pryde
    Scott Pryde

    One of the mainstays of The Roar, Scott Pryde has written over 1,800 articles covering everything from rugby league to basketball, from tennis to cricket. You can follow him on Twitter @sk_pryde.

    The New South Wales State of Origin team for the 2018 series remains a mystery, with new coach Brad Fittler facing plenty of selection headaches. So we want you to tell us - and all your mates - who should start for Blues in Game 1 with our team picker.

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    The Crowd Says (25)

    • June 16th 2017 @ 11:08am
      irons said | June 16th 2017 @ 11:08am | ! Report

      Boyd into the centres and retaining Gagai on the wing where he has been one QLD’s consistently better players over the last few matches was really only a surprise if you don’t know much about rugby league strategy and tactics. This outcome was obvious the moment Slater and Holmes had to be brought into the squad after Game 1. And Boyd has played in the centres in his first stint at the Broncos while Karmichael Hunt was fullback. He’ll be fine there and certainly better than the ‘versatile’ turnstile Gagai.

      The question that needs to be answered is whether Walters will switch Chambers to the right to combine with Cronk as they do at Melbourne (my preference), or to maintain the bulk of the Roos left-side of Thurston – Chambers – Holmes. Based on the numbering, it’s the latter, but this could be more tactical mind games. Gavin Cooper coming in alongside Thurston with the NQ left-side combination is a very good move.

    • June 16th 2017 @ 11:09am
      theHunter said | June 16th 2017 @ 11:09am | ! Report

      Fullback at Centre? I thought that was NSW’s strategy…

    • June 16th 2017 @ 11:11am
      Kreig said | June 16th 2017 @ 11:11am | ! Report

      Still can’t believe Oates was axed, and Thaiday left out entirely.

      We’re in danger of getting pushed around the park….

      And as much as I like Boyd, centre? Really?!

      I think a big part of the problem is when players get picked for Australia before playing State of Origin.

      That should only happen if the winning state player in any given position is unavailable for national duties, and it should further be understood that the state player in question gets first shot at retention if available and in form.

      Which Oates is. Not to mention, he was one of Queensland’s best in game 1.

    • Roar Guru

      June 16th 2017 @ 11:25am
      eagleJack said | June 16th 2017 @ 11:25am | ! Report

      Boyd is a class player but playing centre in Origin, having only briefly played there in 2009 at the Dragons, is a huge ask.

      I’d also be concerned starting with Wallace and Napa. Two rookies who will have plenty of energy but that may play against them. Which is what we saw with Napa in Game I. Came out like a bull at a gate, then went missing after 10mins. Have your two big men do that and QLD will struggle. Experience is key in the opening exchanges.

      Bench is dangerous with Papalii and Hess.

      And of course the spine is a massive advantage.

      But it’s certainly not a clean looking Maroons side. Plenty of question marks.

      • June 16th 2017 @ 12:14pm
        Nicholas Griffin said | June 16th 2017 @ 12:14pm | ! Report

        Napa a rookie? He’s an experienced origin player now. He won’t make the same mistake this time by injuring his ankle.

        • Roar Guru

          June 16th 2017 @ 12:47pm
          eagleJack said | June 16th 2017 @ 12:47pm | ! Report

          Haha true I forgot he’s now an old head!

          He was gassed after 10mins. The ankle was a convenient excuse brought on by not containing his nervous energy. You’d hope he’d learn from that, and he probably will. But it’s a risk having effectively 2 debutants as your starting props.

          • June 16th 2017 @ 11:01pm
            Griffo said | June 16th 2017 @ 11:01pm | ! Report

            That’s true but I think you have to have specialist props to start the game. I think that’s a big reason why Nate Myles was picked for game 1 this year. They wanted a specialist prop with origin experience. If Matt Scott wasn’t injured I think it’s a good chance Myles wouldn’t have played game 1 given his lacklustre performance in last year’s series coupled with his lacklustre club form. This game they have no choice but to pick inexperienced props.
            I think one of the problems that Queensland have had in the forwards in the last few series is that they’ve moved away from the strategy of picking four specialist props. They used to dominate in the forwards. Granted the depth of front rowers isn’t as great but I think if you’ve got 2 genuine props on the field at all times then you’ll rarely get overrun. The issue now is that Scott is injured and Myles is past it and no other front rower has had a go before this year.

      • June 16th 2017 @ 1:06pm
        V.O.R. said | June 16th 2017 @ 1:06pm | ! Report

        Wallace will be fine. So will Glasby. This is the State who made Adam Mogg a household name. We have a tradition of such selections and all the talk up here is positive. Ready to prove a point. Re: Napa, if NSW have to work it off their line he will come into his own. However big question mark over his defence under the pump at this level.

        Gotta say eJ, the adittion of Val Holmes and an inform Slater has the Maroons backline looking lethal. It could even be the fastest set of outside backs that QLD has ever put on the field. I’m sure they are not done with Hayne.

        • June 16th 2017 @ 6:08pm
          Mango Jack said | June 16th 2017 @ 6:08pm | ! Report

          Who’s Adam Mogg?

          • June 17th 2017 @ 8:53am
            Griffo said | June 17th 2017 @ 8:53am | ! Report

            The guy we should pick again. Averages 1.5 tries per origin and Queensland are undefeated when he plays.

      • Roar Rookie

        June 16th 2017 @ 1:32pm
        Joe said | June 16th 2017 @ 1:32pm | ! Report

        I also have concerns about the starting props but really there isn’t much difference on the bench either. Also Wallace isn’t really a big man…bit like Papalli who is actually short compared to the other props. Saw a pic of Wallace with Hess and Glasby and those two were much bigger than him, and Glasby would be probably 4th at the Storm in terms of front row dimensions. I think this front row will come out firing but the big bodies in the NSW pack will take its toll and they will struggle in the 2nd half.

      • June 16th 2017 @ 2:18pm
        Larry1950 said | June 16th 2017 @ 2:18pm | ! Report

        Think the selection of Wallace to start is he’s more of the grinding 80 minute player this season while Papali is an impact forward (we hope). Napa will be better for the experience & did have an ankle injury so they held him back in the second half to not waste an interchange. I thought it was obvious that Chambers would revert to his club position at right centre once a left side specialist in Boyd was selected as a centre. Darius will be fine, gets bagged by haters, but is in great form and now a leader, how life can turn around.
        Forward rotation, including Morgan, looks a lot better. Sorry for Sam but all good things come to an end. I’m excited about the pace Holmes brings versus O’Neill’s in game one. He half-busted the blues but lacked the acceleration to get clear, something Val can do. Love the way Holmes charges back into the defence from kicks, reminds me of Karmichael Hunt at his early best.
        Still a really hard task but they’re in with a big chance, would love a Corey Parker off-loading type in the pack somewhere.

    • June 16th 2017 @ 11:26am
      Kreig said | June 16th 2017 @ 11:26am | ! Report

      What I’m saying is that Holmes should not have been chosen.

      By choosing Holmes Oates is unfairly axed and Boyd is forced to play way out of position.

      Of course, I hope Queensland win, but only just, and that the selectors fix this error.

      I will be VERY interested to see what they do if we get spanked again. What, keep Smith, Thurston, Slater and Cronk and axe the rest, no matter who played well and who didn’t?

      This is a slightly better side without O’Neill, Myles and Lillyman.

      But it could be better. Should have kept Guerra who played well with the limited minutes he was given, and Sammy who has been the soul of the side for years.

      And of course, Oates should have been a walk-up start.

      It’s going to be a tighter contest on Wednesday night, but I’m still not convinced this is the best team we can field.

      • June 16th 2017 @ 11:43am
        Renegade said | June 16th 2017 @ 11:43am | ! Report

        Anyone who thinks Oates is a better player than Holmes must only have FTA and only watch Broncos games….. I get the feeling you fit that criteria

        • June 16th 2017 @ 12:43pm
          V.O.R. said | June 16th 2017 @ 12:43pm | ! Report

          Oates is built for Origin. Great start to the set, good finisher. Saying that he’s likely not going to win a game on his own. Val Holmes on the other hand has the potential to turn a game upside down from anywhere on the park. Especially with Cronk feeding him a sneaky inside ball. Are you nervous Rene?

    • June 16th 2017 @ 12:06pm
      Kreig said | June 16th 2017 @ 12:06pm | ! Report

      Did I say Oates was “better”? No. I said Oates was possibly the best on a losing side. Holmes is one of many debutantes. It’s the wrong time for him to get a start.

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