The North Queensland Toyota Cowboys trio of Johnathan Thurston, Matt Scott and Michael Morgan have retained their places in the Queensland State of Origin team for game two of the 2015 series, being played in Melbourne on 17 June.
All three played for Queensland in their 11-10 game 1 win in Sydney last month, with coach Mal Meninga naming a largely unchanged side as the Maroons look to reclaim the Origin shield they lost last year following an eight-year stranglehold on the famous sporting trophy.
Manly halfback Daly Cherry-Evans comes into the starting side for injured Storm player Cooper Cronk, with Cherry-Evans to partner Thurston in the halves.
Scott and Titans prop Nate Myles will join Storm hooker and Queensland captain Cameron Smith in the front row, while Morgan will again come off the bench in a utility role.
Meninga named an extended squad today, with Canberra’s Josh Papalii and Newcastle pair Dane Gagai and Korbin Sims brought into the Maroons fold.
With Cowboys prop James Tamou again selected in the NSW team earlier today, that brings to four the number of Cowboys set to play in Origin II.
The Cowboys' Maroons triumvirate have joined their Queensland teammates in Melbourne after helping North Queensland to a 10th straight NRL victory over the Parramatta Eels in Sydney on Monday night.
The Cowboys’ 36-30 win after trailing 30-6 three-quarters of the way through the match was one of the great NRL comebacks of all time, and included a blistering five-try burst in the space of 11 minutes.
Gavin Cooper’s seven-minute hat-trick is believed to be the fastest by a forward in NRL history.
The bulk of the Cowboys team returned to Townsville today for their round 14 bye this weekend, their next game being against the Raiders in Canberra on Saturday 20 June.
Queensland State of Origin team:
1. Billy Slater
2. Darius Boyd
3. Greg Inglis
4. Justin Hodges
5. Will Chambers
6. Johnathan Thurston
7. Daly Cherry-Evans
8. Matt Scott
9. Cameron Smith (c)
10. Nate Myles
11. Aidan Guerra
12. Sam Thaiday
13. Corey Parker
14. Michael Morgan
15. Josh McGuire
16. Matt Gillett
17. Jacob Lillyman
18. Josh Papalii
19. Dane Gagai
20. Korbin Sims
Coach: Mal Meninga