$1.2M megastar snubbed in new-look Maroons side

Maroons coach Billy Slater has made sweeping changes to last year’s losing side, leaving out big-money Titans star David Fifita with several debutants making their way in.

Fifita, who’s featured for the Maroons on five occasions since 2019, has been left out of the squad.

The rampaging $1.2 million back-rower has had a rollercoaster season in 2022, with Titans coach Justin Holbrook attempting to find different ways to get the best out of the big man, including positional changes, with the hulking back-rower spending time at center and off the interchange as an impact player.

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The 22-year-old has also had to contend with an MCL injury, which he returned from last week.

In other changes, Slater has named four debutants in jerseys 1-17, including Broncos pair Selwyn Cobbo and Patrick Carrigan, as well as Reuben Cotter and Jeremiah Nanai from the Cowboys.

Cobbo and Nanai, who are both aged 19, will make their Origin debuts with less than 20 NRL games under their belts.

The pair have been arguably the most exciting young stars of the competition this season.

Cobbo, who’s spent this year on the wing for the Broncos, has scored eight tries in his last four games.

Nanai, meanwhile, has been a try-scoring machine for the Cowboys with 10 through 12 appearances this year.

The Queensland squad was named after Brad Fittler made some shock selections in his NSW squad. See the full Blues 22 here.

Queensland Maroons Game I squad

  1. Kalyn Ponga – Newcastle Knights
  2. Selwyn Cobbo – Brisbane Broncos
  3. Valentine Holmes – North Queensland Cowboys
  4. Dane Gagai – Newcastle Knights
  5. Xavier Coates – Melbourne Storm
  6. Cameron Munster – Melbourne Storm
  7. Daly Cherry-Evans – Manly Sea Eagles
  8. Tino Fa’asuamaleaui – Gold Coast Titans
  9. Ben Hunt – St George Illawarra Dragons
  10. Josh Papalii – Canberra Raiders
  11. Kurt Capewell – Brisbane Broncos
  12. Felise Kaufusi – Melbourne Storm
  13. Reuben Cotter – North Queensland Cowboys
  14. Harry Grant – Melbourne Storm
  15. Lindsay Collins – Sydney Roosters
  16. Patrick Carrigan – Brisbane Broncos
  17. Jeremiah Nanai – North Queensland Cowboys
  18. Tom Dearden – North Queensland Cowboys
  19. Jai Arrow – South Sydney Rabbitohs
  20. Thomas Flegler – Brisbane Broncos
  21. Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow – North Queensland Cowboys
  22. Murray Taulagi – North Queensland Cowboys

Cobbo’s brilliant Indigenous Round try celebration

Slater has welcomed back South Sydney forward Jai Arrow to the team after the back-rower made headlines for the wrong reasons in camp last year.

The 26-year-old was hit with a $35,000 fine, as well as a two-game suspension, for bringing an ‘unregistered guest’ into the Maroons’ hotel on the Gold Coast prior to game three.

Arrow may have to wait some time before featuring in the 17 after being named on the extended bench.

Meanwhile, Roosters prop Lindsay Collins makes his Origin return and will come off the interchange after missing last year’s series with an ACL injury.

Hammer’s dream Origin debut moment

Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow, who scored in the Maroons’ game three wins against the Blues last year, has been left out of the 17 and named on the extended bench.

Tabuai-Fidow has spent the bulk of season 2022 coming off the interchange for the Cowboys since returning from a PCL injury.

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