Proof that the Gold Coast Titans are shaping up to be a force to be reckoned with next season, four Titans players have today been named in a 15-man Maroons squad for this year’s much-anticipated State of Origin series.
Fullback AJ Brimson, lock Jai Arrow, winger Phil Sami and prop Moeaki Fotuaika have all been included in the side to take on the New South Wales Blues next month.
They are joined by Kalyn Ponga, Edrick Lee and Hymel Hunt from the Newcastle Knights, along with Valentine Holmes and Coen Hess from the North Queensland Cowboys.
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Queensland Rugby League said Ponga will consult with a surgeon tomorrow before a final decision is made on his availability.
If he is ruled out, young gun AJ Brimson is likely to be given a huge shot at the number one jersey.
The Broncos’ Patrick Carrigan and Xavier Coates have also been named in the squad, along with Ben Hunt and Josh Kerr from the Dragons..
Wests Tigers Harry Grant and Manly Sea Eagles Daly Cherry-Evans round out the initial 15, with more players set to be added to the squad as further teams are eliminated from the NRL finals.
Of the 15 players named in the squad so far, nine are yet to make their debut for Queensland, meaning the Maroons are poised to inject a fresh wave of talent under the guidance of new coach Wayne Bennett.
“We’ve got an exciting mix of both emerging and seasoned talent in the squad so far and we’re really pleased to be able to announce this group today after what has been a challenging period for the game,” Bennett said.
“The players named in this squad today will have a small window to freshen up before commencing work with our high performance team to ensure they are in peak condition for the series.”
The full Queensland Origin squad of 27 players will be confirmed after the NRL grand final on October 25, ahead of the series opener at Adelaide Oval on November 4.
Queensland Maroons squad members:
Jai Arrow – Gold Coast Titans
AJ Brimson – Gold Coast Titans
Moeaki Fotuaika – Gold Coast Titans
Phillip Sami – Gold Coast Titans
Valentine Holmes – North Queensland Cowboys
Coen Hess – North Queensland Cowboys
Xavier Coates – Brisbane Broncos
Patrick Carrigan – Brisbane Broncos
Edrick Lee – Newcastle Knights
Hymel Hunt – Newcastle Knights
Kalyn Ponga – Newcastle Knights
Ben Hunt – St George Illawarra Dragons
Josh Kerr – St George Illawarra Dragons
Harry Grant – Wests Tigers / Melbourne Storm
Daly Cherry-Evans – Manly Sea Eagles
* Additional players will be added following NRL finals matches