Newcomer Daly Cherry-Evans returns with the Maroons for game three. Photo: Bradley KanarisThe setting was different, the names were the same. Queensland has unveiled an unchanged 17-man squad as the Maroons try to stretch their interstate domination to eight years.
The Maroons revealed their group in the central Queensland city of Rockhampton, where they will spend two days before returning to camp on the Sunshine Coast on Wednesday night.
With no injuries over the previous NRL rounds and the most emphatic of wins at Suncorp Stadium in game two, there was little cause for intrigue ahead of the decider at ANZ Stadium next Wednesday.
The changes that Mal Meninga boldly made for game two have stuck, with Daly Cherry-Evans and Josh Papalii earning their second shot at Origin after both impressed on debut.
Right after what Meninga considered his most difficult selection week, in which he dropped veterans Ash Harrison and David Shillington, this would surely have been one of his easiest.
Curiously, it’s the first time the Maroons have had the same 17 in consecutive games in their entire seven-year stretch of victory. This time, injury and suspension haven’t been a factor and Meninga has the luxury of the most settled of squads.
That is at odds with NSW, who find themselves battling injury to key players as they try to regroup from a loss that sent them crashing back down to Earth after a bright start to the series.
Queensland Billy Slater, Darius Boyd, Justin Hodges, Greg Inglis, Brent Tate, Johnathan Thurston, Cooper Cronk, Matt Scott, Cameron Smith (c), Nate Myles, Sam Thaiday, Chris McQueen, Corey Parker. Interchange Matt Gillett, Josh Papalii, Daly Cherry-Evans, Ben Te’o, Jacob Lillyman and Will Cahmbers (two to be omitted).
The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Hangzhou Night Net.