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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 17th 2017 @ 8:30am
      Oingo Boingo said | June 17th 2017 @ 8:30am | ! Report

      What a game this will be , NSW with their tales up and QLD with their backs against the wall .
      NSW will win this on the back of QLD inexperienced forwards losing their shiiit at vital moments and the Blues capitalising on that lost shiiit .
      A two try margin with the new NSW captain receiving MOTM honours .
      See you all Thursday for the gloating session.

    • June 17th 2017 @ 5:16pm
      Rick said | June 17th 2017 @ 5:16pm | ! Report

      After reading the recent comments, I believe people have missed the most important ingredient in an origin win – dominant forwards. I recall an origin strategy from a couple of years ago was to limit Matt Scott’s running metres to under 100m for the game. NSW achieved their goal and won the game (Qld had Thurston, Cronk, Smith, Inglis in their team).

      We (Qld) will start the game with inexperienced props who will be all energy and no direction. After 15 – 20mins the props will be gassed (dependant upon game possession) and looking for a spell. Who comes on? Will Kevvie use a backrower to move upfront and bring one of the less dynamic backrowers from the bench to fill the vacancy? Outcome – we (Qld) will lose any advantage-line dominance due to lack of quick p-t-bs, our good-ball sets will be easier to defend as NSW will be given more reset time, and worst scenario of all – Graham, Cordner, Frizelle, and Jackson will have the time to perfect their outside-in defensive strikes on Thurston and Cronk.

      Solution: Offensively, the counter we could use (and probably will) is to set a platform through the centre (20m – 20m laterally), change angle and attack Maloney on midfield sets, and play isolation sets (double-team 3 / 4 defender) in good-ball sets. Defensively, tighten around the ruck, numbers in the tackle, win the impact and wrestle. Be willing to absorb a few penalties because if we’re going to win the ruck we will need to.

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