Queensland coach Billy Slater has today named his 20-man squad for the first match of the 2024 Ampol State of Origin series, which will be taking place in Sydney next week.

This year’s squad, which still carries the DNA of the famous 8-in-a-row winning streak (2006-2013) with both coach Slater and current captain Daly Cherry-Evans, is once again the strongest team on paper.

Other Origin veterans include Ben Hunt, Valentine Holmes and Felise Kaufusi.

Eels forward J’maine Hopgood will make his debut for the Maroons on the pine, which for Queenslanders is just as much of an honour as a being named captain or coach.

Unlike the egotistical Blues, Queensland’s famous next-man-up mentality will be utilised throughout the series – with varying levels of experience and versatility on the bench.

Not one NRL team is particularly over-represented in the Queensland side, and players are chosen on both form and big game capabilities.

Meanwhile, the NSW coach Madge Maguire continues the great Blues condition of overthinking it.

The decision to overlook both Tedesco and Latrell speaks to the same kind of Coogee beach woo woo that has dominated in the NSW psyche in the years since the soul-crushing humiliation of the eight-straight.

Queensland, on the other hand, will be keeping it very simple.

“We’ve got one mission, and two goals” says coach Billy Slater.

“Our mission is to win. That’s always the mission. It’s not about making a name for yourself, it’s not about the pay rise. It’s about winning. That’s what it’s always been and that’s the reason that the Maroons have won fourteen out of the past eighteen series”

As for our two goals. Firstly, we want to win by a humiliating margin. To continue the psychological warfare that we have waged on both NSW and their fans for two decades”

“And secondly, we want to inflict as much physical pain on that dog cunt Spencer Leniu as possible. It’s not lost on me that Madge has selected him to rattle us. The bloke has only played about 40 minutes of football since his disgraceful conduct towards a Queensland icon in Vegas”

However, as Slater points out, The NSW coach has not thought this through.

“Spencer may as well be wearing a red rag. His inclusion is nothing more than a motivation. We will be finished with him 5 minutes after kick off. But he will remember those 5 minutes for the rest of his career”


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