Queensland Origin captain Greg Inglis

Why Queensland can win State of Origin in 2018

South of the border, those New South Welshmen are carrying on like they have already won State of Origin in 2018.
Conveniently forgetting the fact that they have lost every series bar one since 2005, they are backslapping and congratulating themselves on being the toast of Origin again before a ball is even kicked in anger.
Father Time escapes no man, and Queensland have lost some real greats in Johnathan Thurston, Cooper Cronk and Cameron Smith who are all retired from the representative arena.
But if New South Wales think that gives them a mortgage on this series, they might need to think again.

Queensland gets State of Origin

The 1995 Queensland State of Origin team

The miracle Queensland State of Origin team of 1995

Cast your mind back to 1995. The Super League war was in full swing, with clubs aligning themselves with the new rebel league that would rip at the heart of the game itself.
Because of this, Super League-aligned players were ineligible for State of Origin selection in 1995 - a hammer blow for the Queensland Maroons.
The Brisbane Broncos and their star-studded roster had signed up for Super League, so too had new franchise the North Queensland Cowboys. It robbed the Maroons of most of their best talent and had them at a distinct disadvantage to New South Wales who still had the best players from the likes of Manly, the Roosters, Parramatta and South Sydney to choose from.
Rookie coach Paul 'Fatty' Vautin had a huge assignment in front of him and selectors had to scour the league to look for players just to put a team on the park.
Dale Shearer was the only international available, except for Adrian Lam who Queensland had to get special dispensation to pick because he was aligned with PNG. Then Shearer was injured prior to game 2.
Led by veteran Trevor Gillmeister, the likes of Lam, Robbie O'Davis, Matt Sing, Wayne Bartrim and Ben Ikin went from unlikely debutants to household names as Queensland crushed their better credentialed rivals 3-0.

Queensland likes being the underdog

Even in the years of Johnathan Thurston, Cameron Smith and Cooper Cronk, the Queenslanders would try to engineer ways to become the underdog.
It is a siege mentality the banana benders thrive on, and that came to the fore in 2017.
Coming into game one, there was some concern over the ageing roster of the Maroons and the Blues pounced - thumping Queensland 28-4 in game one at Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane.
It seemed a fait accompli that New South Wales would roll over the top of Queensland, but a rebuilt Maroons side relished their new found Origin status and bounced back to win 18-16 in Sydney. The Blues never had a hope in game three in Brisbane and were smashed 22-6.

New South Wales is not tested at State of Origin level

For all the bluster about how great this new Blues outfit is, they boast precious few Origin caps between them.
A record 11 debutants will play in the first match, breaking the previous record of 10 which Queensland fielded in game 1 in 2001.
Queensland may have lost some serious experience in Thurston, Smith and Cronk, but there are still plenty of senior heads in this side who know what Origin is about.
Many a debutant has been found out at Origin level in the past, never to return to the arena again (especially in the case of New South Wales).
If just two or three debutants turn in Barry Crockers this time around, it won't bode well for the Blues.

New South Wales team for Origin I
James Tedesco
Tom Trbojevic
Latrell Mitchell
James Roberts
Josh Addo-Carr
James Maloney
Nathan Cleary
David Klemmer
Damien Cook
Reagan Campbell-Gillard
Boyd Cordner (c)
Tyson Frizell
Jack de Belin

Paul Vaughan
Jake Trbojevic
Angus Crichton
Tyrone Peachey

Queensland team for Origin I
Billy Slater
Valentine Holmes
Greg Inglis (c)
Will Chambers
Dane Gagai
Cameron Munster
Ben Hunt
Dylan Napa
Andrew McCullough
Jarrod Wallace
Gavin Cooper
Felise Kaufusi
Josh McGuire

Michael Morgan
Josh Papalii
Coen Hess
Jai Arrow

About the Author Josh Alston

Josh Alston is a hack with over 12 years industry experience, covering sport across all codes for newspapers and online agencies. Known to frequent grade matches because of their cheap tinnies. Eventually graduated with a Bachelor of Journalism and a Masters in sitting on the hill when the local cricket side was playing. Softball premiership winner, rugby league legend in Year 10 and no stranger to Doomben Racecourse.

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