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Mal Meninga has made the cut as a player and the coach in Queensland's greatest-ever State of Origin team. 

To celebrate 40 years of Origin, - in conjunction with The Sydney Morning Herald and Channel Nine - has assembled an all-star panel to choose the best of the best squads for the Blues and Maroons.

Wide World of Sports experts Peter Sterling, Billy Slater, Paul Vautin, Andrew Johns, Johnathan Thurston, Wally Lewis, Darren Lockyer, Paul Gallen, Phil Gould and NSW coach Brad Fittler selected their ultimate teams.

The players who received the most votes in each position made the final 17-man teams. The Blues side was announced last week.

Slater (fullback), Lewis (five-eighth), Thurston (halfback) and Lockyer (bench) were unanimous Maroons selections by their fellow judges - albeit in a few different positions - despite not voting for themselves. 

Vautin also nabbed a place as a reserve.

Meninga, part of the inaugural Queensland team in 1980 and who played 33 Origin matches, was chosen by everyone at centre.

He edged out Wayne Bennett and Arthur Beetson for the coaching duties on the strength of leading the state to an unprecedented eight consecutive series wins from 2006-13 and also triumphing in 2015.

Modern star Greg Inglis was picked to partner Meninga in the centres, giving the dream team frightening power and speed out wide.

On the wings, Broncos legends Wendell Sailor and Lote Tuqiri gained starts ahead of Darius Boyd and Kerry Boustead. Tuqiri played three of his six Origins, in which he scored five tries, with Sailor in 2001.

The late Beetson, who led the Maroons in the first Origin match, was a popular choice at prop. Shane Webcke beat Petero Civoniceva and Matt Scott for the privilege of starting alongside big Artie, with Petero making the bench and Scott unluckily missing out altogether.

Cameron Smith, who retired from Origin in 2017 but just won the NRL title with Melbourne at age 37, was voted at hooker across the board.

There were plenty of candidates for the second-row slots. Gorden Tallis and Trevor "The Axe" Gillmeister prevailed over champions like Sam Thaiday, Gary Larson, Vautin and Brad Thorn.

Completing the starting line-up, Bob Lindner got the nod in a strong field featuring Vautin, Corey Parker, Jason Smith and Lewis.

Vautin couldn't be overlooked on the interchange, joining Lockyer, Civoniceva and brilliant halfback Allan "Alfie" Langer.

Here's who each panellist picked.

Brad Fittler

Besides the man himself, Fittler was the only one not to select Billy Slater at fullback. Instead, he opted for Darren Lockyer in the No.1 and Slater on the wing. The NSW coach included Justin Hodges on his bench.

Peter Sterling

There was no room for Wendell Sailor or Lote Tuqiri in the Blues legend's line-up. Sterling chose elite finishers Darius Boyd and Dale Shearer on the flanks and Wayne Bennett as the coach.

Billy Slater

Picking Darren Lockyer at fullback at his own expense allowed Slater to go with Johnathan Thurston and Allan Langer as his halves with Wally Lewis at lock. Slater recognised Michael Crocker with a bench spot.

Paul Gallen

The names Slater, Thurston, Smith, Cronk, Boyd, Inglis, Thaiday, Parker and Myles may have caused long-time NSW skipper Gallen nightmares during their golden run - but he found space for all of them.

Paul Vautin

"Fatty", a revered coach and player for Queensland, was the lone person to choose Matt Sing on the wing. He picked his great teammate Gene Miles in the centres, meaning Greg Inglis missed out. Arthur Beetson wasn't picked to play but Vautin would hand him the clipboard.

Andrew Johns

Dual international Brad Thorn would start in the second row in Joey's team while Gorden Tallis missed the cut. Johns was the only selector to choose Jason Smith at lock, with Bob Lindner on his bench and Wayne Bennett as coach.

Phil Gould

Michael Hancock and Kerry Boustead were the wingers of choice for NSW's most successful coach. Matt Scott and Matt Gillett, two of the Queensland's best modern forwards, earned starts in Gould's pack.

Johnathan Thurston

Taking himself out of the equation, Thurston decided on Darren Lockyer and Allan Langer as the halves, picking Lewis at lock. The champion No.7 chose tough prop Steve Price, whom he played with for Queensland and Canterbury, on the bench along with his old partner Cooper Cronk.

Wally Lewis

The King went for the outstanding combination of Darren Lockyer and Johnathan Thurston in the halves while naming Allan Langer on the bench as another elite playmaking option.

Darren Lockyer

Dale Shearer landed on the wing for Lockyer and the lion-hearted Petero Civoniceva would start at prop. Nate Myles made the interchange.

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National Rugby League respects and honours the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

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