19 May, 2016 10:15
CLANCY OVERELL | Editor | CONTACT
State Of Origin football. Not since the days of gladiatorial combat have we seen a competition so fierce, a rivalry so deeply engrained and a tribal supporter base so loyal.
Game 1 is less than a fortnight away and it’s clear that our home state is putting in the hard yards to put another series on the cup. They have even beaten NSW to mark with announcing the official side for the opening match.
Live on the Triple M Grill Team (Brisbane) this morning, Chairman of the QRL, Peter Betros announced this year’s selection, before announcing that former QLD player and Golden Glove boxer, Carl Webb had been recruited as assistant coach to Kevin Walters.
“It was pretty clear to Kev that these boys might be outmatched in mongrel, especially given that most of the Blues side is going to be a bunch of tatted up Westies from broken homes.
“We decided that we’ll bring Charlie (Webb) along to camp – that’ll change their tune a bit,”
Mr Betros could not confirm whether or not Carl Williams would be once again shaving a ‘Q’ into the side of his head, but could reveal that he is no longer on probation.
“Dane Gagai is gonna hit the ground running in the front row, with Darius Boyd to partner him in the tough stuff,” he said
“We definitely thought it was time to put Jaelen Feeney in the forwards somewhere. Alongside Kalyn Ponga. Jaelen and Kalyn. Now that’s a pairing I want to hear Rabs shouting,”
“and for the sake of intercepts we thought it was definitely time to blood Javid Bowen,”
While QRL selectors appear to be “spoilt for choice” each series, it would seem that Coach Kevin Walters has taken a leaf out of his mentor Wayne Bennett’s book and recruited a few faces that haven’t graced an NRL field in quite some time.
Wayne Bennett’s famous 2001 Origin series, which was the first time an England-based player was selected for State Of Origin in the shape of Alfie Langer has rubbed off on Walters. The debut Origin coach has decided to rest a few of the current Queensland greats on the bench at kick-off, to make room for a sugar-hit of experience and wisdom from the likes of Andrew Walker and Scott Minto.
“Yeah Cool-Mints and Walks were initially brought on as trainers, but they started getting involved in a few of the drills themselves, Walters thought it couldn’t hurt,”
“There was a little bit of a glisten in his own eyes as well, thought we nearly had a captain-coach there for a little while but Kev’s wife talked him out of it,”
“Matt Ballin, Rod Griffen and Jordan Rankin have shown that they’ve got heart. It takes a lot to show passion towards a Wests Tigers jersey,”
However, the 2016 selections are not without controversy, as Betros revealed that star player and NSW-born Queensland Origin icon Greg Inglis had not made the cut.
The 2016 Queensland State Of Origin (Game 1) is as follows: