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Justin Hodges believes Kevin Proctor, Adam Blair and Jake Granville will be key to their side's chances in 2017.

Last year all three Queensland teams qualified for the finals for the first time in the history of the NRL and there's no reason why they can't do it again in 2017.

With the likes of Anthony Milford, Jarryd Hayne and of course Johnathan Thurston the Broncos, Titans and Cowboys boast some of the most exciting players in the competition but they can't do it by themselves.

If we are to see another Queensland finals trifecta this season these are the players who I believe are most crucial to their team's chances.

Justin Hodges' footy tips for Round 1

Adam Blair (Broncos)

I know 'Blairy' can be criticised a little bit for the aggression with which he plays with but that's how he plays and if he can ignore that outside noise he'll be really important this year.

To play front row you've got to be tough and you've got to have that little bit of mongrel about you and that's what makes him so good.

He can upset teams, he can upset players and he can be that dominant player that you need. The Broncos are going to need a big season out of him.

What makes Blairy so valuable to a team are the one per centers that he comes up with that people in the stands might never notice. Things like kick pressure and getting up off your line set the tone for the rest of the team get forgotten with everything else that happens afterwards but those efforts he made in 2015 were massive in getting us to the grand final.

If he can get back to that aggressive style where he runs hard, tackles hard and upsets teams again then the rest of the team will feed off it.

Jake Granville (Cowboys)

If Jake Granville can recapture the form that he showed when the Cowboys won the comp in 2015 that will take them a long way to making the grand final again.

Everyone knows what guys such as Johnathan Thurston, Michael Morgan and Matty Scott bring to the team but that unpredictability that Jake brings to the team makes him extremely dangerous out of dummy-half.

He's got to be the fastest hooker going around and if he can take advantage of a quick play-the-ball and make some easy metres then that gives Johno, Morgo and Lachlan Coote the time and space they need to put on their plays.

If the defence is worried about what Jake might do it takes that extra bit of pressure off 'JT' so if they can use his speed out of dummy-half which is so electric the Cowboys will be able to attack a defensive line that is on the back foot.

And when JT is the one doing the attacking, that's almost impossible to stop.

The Cowboys have got great players and a great coach but if they're going to have that success again they're going to need him firing.

Kevin Proctor (Titans)

The Titans have lost quite a bit of experience the past couple of years and having worked under Craig Bellamy, Cameron Smith, Billy Slater and Cooper Cronk, this is a great chance for Kevvie to step out from their shadows and bring his own leadership to the team.

One area where they need a bit of help is in the leadership role because ever since Scott Prince left there's been a bit of a gap there in that regard and I just hope he brings that same mentality that they have at the Storm up to the Gold Coast.

Making him captain before he's even played a game for the club is a big call but he's come from one of the best clubs going around in terms of leadership and the most important thing in football, your discipline.

In my eyes that's what the Titans are screaming out for, someone to come in and set the right example for the younger blokes in the club. They've got that in Ryan James – I still don't know why he hasn't played for New South Wales – and along with Kevin and Jarryd they've got a really good core group of leaders.

Final thought

I really hope that the Warriors are the team that makes a big move in 2017, I just love the style of footy that they play.

With the skill those boys have it's like a game of touch for them and having Stephen Kearney and Kieran Foran there hopefully they can finish in the top eight. If they do that then they're one team that you do not want to face in the finals.

Shaun Johnson likes to play that ad lib footy where he skips across the field but with Foran there he can take control of his forwards and get them going forward and then let Johnson do his thing.

I hope Steve doesn't change the way they play too much because everyone loves watching them but they do need a bit of structure, especially for the first couple of tackles in a set. 

Justin Hodges' footy tips for Round 1

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