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Queensland Maroons team announced: No Billy Slater, but plenty of injury clouds in squad for Game 1

The Roar logo The Roar 22/05/2017

Video provided by AAP

The Queensland Maroons team for Game 1 of this year’s State of Origin series has been named, although we’re still a long way from finding out who will run out onto Suncorp Stadium next Wednesday due to a number of injury concerns in the squad.

As a result of those injury worries, selectors have opted to name a 18-man extended squad for Game 1.

Superstar playmaker Johnathan Thurston, who is yet to make his return from a shoulder injury sustained while playing in the Anzac Test earlier this month, headlines the players in the squad currently under injury clouds; he’s been named as the side’s 18th man, and is unlikely to play in Game 1.

Thurston will, however, still travel to the Maroons camp where he will be assessed by Queensland medical staff.

Broncos five-eighth Anthony Milford has been named to start alongside Cooper Cronk in the halves, dispelling the rumours that Thurston’s club teammate Michael Morgan would slot into the run-on side.

Morgan has been named on the bench, filling the utility role for the Maroons.

Forward Nate Myles is also in doubt for Game 1 despite being named by coach Kevin Walters. The Manly forward suffered bone bruising in his left knee during the Eagles’ game against the Gold Coast Titans last weekend, but the lack of a 19th man (and logical replacement for Myles) indicates the Maroons coaching staff are confident the veteran will be able to fill his spot in the run-on side on May 31.

The Maroons pose for a photograph with the State of Origin shield. © AAP Image/Dan Himbrechts The Maroons pose for a photograph with the State of Origin shield. In what was surely the toughest decision for the Maroons, selectors opted to stick with incumbent fullback Darius Boyd instead of Melbourne’s Billy Slater. Slater had been an automatic selection for the Maroons for much of their record-breaking winning streak over the past decade, but missed the entire series last year due to a shoulder injury.

Slater’s last Origin appearance for the Maroons came in Game 2 of 2015.

Boyd’s retention at fullback has seen Corey Oates and Dane Gagai named on the wings, with Sharks and Kangaroos flyer Valentine Holmes unable to force his way into the side.

Stalwarts Cooper Cronk and Cameron Smith have unsurprisingly been named at hooker and halfback respectively, and Smith has been named to captain the side once again.

In the forwards, Roosters prop Dylan Napa has been named to make his Origin debut in the front row alongside Myles, while the imposing trio of Josh Papalii, Matt Gillett and Josh McGuire will line up in the back row.

Veteran Broncos forward Sam Thaiday will join Morgan on the bench alongside Aidan Guerra and Jacob Lillyman. Cowboy Coen Hess has missed out on selection, despite many touting the damaging forward for an Origin debut in Game 1.

New South Wales’ side will be announced later tonight at a gala dinner at The Star in Sydney.

Queensland Maroons team for State of Origin Game 1:

1. Darius Boyd

2. Corey Oates

3. Will Chambers

4. Justin O’Neill

5. Dane Gagai

6. Anthony Milford

7. Cooper Cronk

8. Dylan Napa

9. Cameron Smith (c)

10. Nate Myles

11. Josh Papalii

12. Matt Gillett

13. Josh McGuire

14. Michael Morgan

15. Sam Thaiday

16. Aidan Guerra

17. Jacob Lillyman

18. Johnathan Thurston

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