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Walters: Why condensed Origin series will benefit Maroons

Queensland coach Kevin Walters believes a condensed State of Origin period in November will unite the Maroons, while also giving emerging prospects a better chance to mount a case for selection.

It was announced on Thursday that due to the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, Origin would be staged on November 4, 11 and 18 - three consecutive Wednesdays - when it's hoped crowds can attend.

It's the first time Origin has been played so late in the year, with the showpiece series usually kicking off in late May or early June. Venues are yet to be confirmed.

Walters told he thinks moving the series down the calendar, free from the interruption of club football, is "excellent from our point of view" as the Maroons look to snap NSW's two-year winning run.

"It allows us to stay together as a group more so than splitting up," Walters said.

"All of our players come from North Queensland, Melbourne, Sydney, Canberra, so we're all over the place with our playing stocks.

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"This will enable us to come together as one and build really strongly throughout the series, which I'm really excited about."

Walters noted it could be tough for players to back up each week during the series and said his team would place an emphasis on recovery.

"Players are really smart these days and they know how to recover their bodies properly for games like Origin," Walters said.

He added that being able to pick a bigger squad given the Telstra Premiership would be finished may also help with the workload.

"It's a different look for the Origin series and one we haven't seen before," he continued.

"I guess from our point of view it's about taking a step back and looking at everything around our camps and how they operate in the old format and then certainly moving forward to this format and how we can do that best."

The Broncos legend said players on the cusp of Origin could benefit most from the series being pushed back as they now had more time to prove they could handle the occasion.

"It's a big advantage for these younger players, particularly from a Queensland point of view," Walters said.

"They're getting 20 NRL games [this season] into their system, into their mind, into their legs, into their body, which normally they would have only got possibly 10 before Origin was picked."

While it can't hurt aspiring players to be playing in a team that makes a bold finals run, Walters said he won't necessarily be prioritising players in successful sides.

"There's all different scenarios. For players, they'd like to go deep into [the finals] as much as they can to enhance or further their selection [hopes]," he said.

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"But we won't be weighted by that. We'll be picking our best squad and running with that. Some players that mightn't find themselves in that squad 10 weeks into the competition can force their way in with a strong finish, even if they don't make the finals."

Asked why Maroons fans should be hopeful the Origin shield would return to Queensland soil in 2020, Walters replied: "We take the hope out of it.

"We're very confident with the players that we've got coming through and the work we've done over the past couple of years through the Origin series.

"We'll be ripped and ready to go in November ... I've been really happy with the progress with the team over the last couple of years and I still see us heading in that right direction to win an Origin series."

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