Billy Slater made massive draft calls ahead of Origin I as the Storm legend prepares for his first series in charge of the Maroons.
New Queensland Maroons manager Billy Slater has made some major selection calls ahead of next week’s State of Origin series opener in Sydney.
Slater will take charge of his first Origin series this year after replacing Paul Green and showing he’s not afraid to make tough decisions.
Gold Coast Titans’ $1.2million wrecking ball David Fifita, who recently returned from an MCL injury, was brutally snubbed, along with teammate Mo Fotuaika.
Meanwhile, Brisbane Broncos teenager Selwyn Cobbo has been named after a blistering start to his NRL career, while young guns Reuben Cotter and Jeremiah Nanai are also part of the 22-man squad.
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“I’ll do my best, like I always do. I won’t let anyone down,” Cobbo said on Friday, ahead of his expected call.
“At the start of this year, I wrote down some goals.
“I wanted to make the All Stars and I succeeded. I also wrote that I wanted to play for the Maroons.
“I’m not going to lie, I’m going to be very scared, but I’ll be in.”
Cobbo, 19, will make his Origin debut on the wing despite having just 16 NRL games under his belt, with Queensland team-mate Cameron Munster comparing him to the legendary Greg Inglis.
“He’s a monster and he plays with absolute confidence,” Munster said.
“I obviously don’t like comparing him to some players, but he has a lot of GI similarities – left hand carry, solid defense, very elusive and very quick.
“He doesn’t shy away from the tough stuff and when you see someone like that not only do the flashy things he also does the tough stuff, I’m sure he caught the attention of Queensland managers.”
As the Cowboys climb to third in the NRL ladder after 12 rounds, six players from North Queensland have been named to the extended Maroons squad.
“There’s a lot to like about the Cowboys and their improvement is good for the original Queensland stocks,” Slater said.
“I love that Reuben Cotter has come through adversity, he’s had a few knee rebuilds. He’s a guy I’ve enjoyed watching over the last six weeks.
“I want our players to play consistent football with the kind of physical and mental strength that Reuben shows.”
The New South Wales Blues announced their squad on Sunday night, highlighted by a host of debutants.
Game 1 of the 2022 State of Origin Series kicks off at Stadium Australia on Wednesday, June 8, with a scheduled kick-off at 8:10 p.m. AEST.
Queensland Maroons squad for Game 1
1. Kalyn Ponga – Newcastle Knights
2. Selwyn Cobbo – Brisbane Broncos
3. Valentine Holmes – North Queensland Cowboys
4. Dane Gagai – Newcastle Knights
5. Xavier Coates – Melbourne Storm
6. Cameron Munster – Melbourne Storm
7. Daly Cherry-Evans – Manly Sea Eagles
8. Gold Coast Titans – Gold Coast Titans
9. Ben Hunt – St George Illawarra Dragons
10. Josh Papalii – Canberra Raiders
11. Kurt Capewell – Brisbane Broncos
12. Felise Kaufusi – Melbourne Storm
13. Reuben Cotter – North Queensland Cowboys
14. Harry Grant – Melbourne Storm
15. Lindsay Collins – Sydney Roosters
16. Patrick Carrigan – Brisbane Broncos
17. Jeremiah Nanai – North Queensland Cowboys
18. Tom Dearden – North Queensland Cowboys
19. Jai Arrow – South Sydney Rabbitohs
20. Thomas Flegler – Brisbane Broncos
21. Hamiso Tabuai -Fidow – North Queensland Cowboys
22. Murray Taulagi – North Queensland Cowboys
Originally published as Billy Slater rudely rejects $1.2m star, gives teen debut in huge Origin calls