NRL.com’s guest Queensland 'selector' for the 2011 Harvey Norman Origin Series decider is former Maroons legendary lock Billy Moore, who played 17 Origin matches between 1992 and 1997 and 211 First Grade games for the North Sydney Bears from 1989 to 1999. Moore, 40, is widely remembered for his "Queenslander! Queenslander!" call to motivate an underdog Maroons team on their way out of the tunnel in 1995. Against all odds, the young Queenslanders won the series 3-0 without the state's star Super League players.
In typical Queensland style, coach Mal Meninga and the selectors will stay with the status quo for Origin III, except for the inclusion of Justin Hodges. Hodges would have been there from Game 1 except injury ruled him out.
Dane Nielsen has done a good job, but while Hodges will be lacking match fitness he is without a doubt one of the most destructive and elusive centres in the game today and, combined with his big game experience, he will form one of the deadliest three-quarter combinations with GI (Greg Inglis) that Origin has seen.
Game 2 was a cracker and while NSW deserved their win, it certainly is not a time for Mal and the boys to panic. Queensland were in the game the whole way and the bounce of the ball and a few 50/50 calls didn’t go their way … that can all change at Suncorp Stadium!
One factor the Maroons will have to contend with in Game 3 though will be the impact NSW had off their bench at ANZ Stadium – it was one of the defining differences between the teams. Our bench has quality players and they will provide more punch in the decider.
Even though he will not allow his team-mates to focus on it, Locky’s final game will be on the minds of the players and the whole of Queensland. Everyone wants to see the champion go out with a win and none more so then the other 16 players wearing the Maroon – this will be an added bit of inspiration for all involved.
2011 Game 3 has all the hall marks of an Origin classic … can’t wait. GO MAROONS!!!
My XXXX Queensland team for Origin 3 is:
1. Billy Slater (Storm)
2. Darius Boyd (Dragons)
3. Justin Hodges (Broncos)
4. Greg Inglis (Rabbitohs)
5. Jharal Yow Yeh (Broncos)
6. Darren Lockyer (c) (Broncos)
7. Johnathan Thurston (Cowboys)
8. Matthew Scott (Cowboys)
9. Cameron Smith (Storm)
10. Petero Civoniceva (Panthers)
11. Nate Myles (Roosters)
12. Sam Thaiday (Broncos)
13. Ashley Harrison (Titans)
14. Cooper Cronk (Storm)
15. Corey Parker (Broncos)
16. David Taylor (Rabbitohs)
17. Ben Hannant (Broncos)