The Maroons and Blues renew hostilities on neutral territory in Adelaide with Billy Slater looking to repeat the heroics of his maiden season as Queensland coach in 2022 and Brad Fittler chasing a fourth series success in six years at the helm.
One of the Blues' most decorated players, Fittler took over as coach in 2018 and masterminded back-to-back victories in his first two seasons in charge, before Wayne Bennett led an underdog Maroons side to a stunning upset in 2020.
The Blues hit back with a 2-1 triumph in 2021 before Slater added to his incredible Origin legacy by steering Queensland to victory last year, thanks largely to the efforts of Cameron Munster, Kalyn Ponga, Ben Hunt and Patrick Carrigan.
Melbourne magician Munster is back again to haunt the Blues along with Hunt and Carrigan, but Ponga has been overlooked in favour of Reece Walsh, whose stunning form across the first 12 rounds has earned him an Origin debut.
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Also getting their first taste of Origin in Adelaide are Blues trio Hudson Young, Tevita Pangai Junior and Nicho Hynes, with the Sharks superstar expected to be thrust into the action by Fittler around the 30-minute mark to try and expose any weaknesses in the defence.
Doing that job for the Maroons will be Storm hooker Harry Grant, who has been a weapon off the bench coming on after Ben Hunt has plugged the middle in the early exchanges.
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The 1-2 punch provided by Hunt and Grant was pivotal to Queensland's 2022 series victory and they are set to have a huge influence again in this year's series.
This is the second time an Origin game has been played in Adelaide, the first being in 2020 when the Maroons won 18-14 in the series opener.
Match: Maroons v Blues
Game 1 -
Venue: Adelaide Oval, Adelaide
Maroons: Billy Slater has made two late changes in his pack with Tino Fa'asuamaleaui and Reuben Cotter promoted to the starting side an hour before kick-off. Thomas Flegler and Lindsay Collins will come from the bench.
Fullback Reece Walsh is the lone debutant in Slater's line-up, getting the nod over Kalyn Ponga for the No.1 jersey. Titans enforcer David Fifita will play his first game since Game 2, 2021 and looks likely to partner Cameron Munster on the left edge second row with Thomas Gilbert on the right.
Ben Hunt will start at hooker with Storm star Harry Grant coming from the bench as per last year's successful tactic. The side will be led by Daly Cherry-Evans in his 20th Origin match.
Blues: Brad Fittler has made no late changes for the Blues with Tevita Pangai Junior and Hudson Young confirmed starters on Origin debut.
After a whirlwind week of withdrawals and injuries, Stephen Crichton will start on the left edge in place of Latrell Mitchell, who was ruled out of Origin I with a calf injury on Monday.
Bulldogs playmaker Matt Burton is the new 18th Man. Nathan Cleary (wisdom tooth) is good to go, as is Payne Haas (ankle) after concerns throughout the week.
All eyes will be on what Nicho Hynes' involvement in Game One could be with the reigning Dally M medallist capable of playing in the halves, at fullback, or in a general roving role.
Api Koroisau is the only recognised hooker named in the squad and appears set for big minutes.
Match: Maroons v Blues
Game 1 -
Fullback for Maroons is number 1 Reece WalshFullback for Blues is number 1 James Tedesco
Winger for Maroons is number 2 Selwyn CobboWinger for Blues is number 2 Brian To'o
Centre for Maroons is number 3 Valentine HolmesCentre for Blues is number 3 Stephen Crichton
Centre for Maroons is number 4 Hamiso Tabuai-FidowCentre for Blues is number 4 Tom Trbojevic
Winger for Maroons is number 5 Murray TaulagiWinger for Blues is number 5 Josh Addo-Carr
Five-Eighth for Maroons is number 6 Cameron MunsterFive-Eighth for Blues is number 6 Jarome Luai
Halfback for Maroons is number 7 Daly Cherry-EvansHalfback for Blues is number 7 Nathan Cleary
Prop for Maroons is number 15 Tino Fa'asuamaleauiProp for Blues is number 8 Tevita Pangai Junior
Hooker for Maroons is number 9 Ben HuntHooker for Blues is number 9 Apisai Koroisau
Prop for Maroons is number 16 Reuben CotterProp for Blues is number 10 Payne Haas
2nd Row for Maroons is number 11 David Fifita2nd Row for Blues is number 11 Tyson Frizell
2nd Row for Maroons is number 12 Tom Gilbert2nd Row for Blues is number 12 Hudson Young
Lock for Maroons is number 13 Patrick CarriganLock for Blues is number 13 Isaah Yeo
Interchange for Maroons is number 8 Thomas FleglerInterchange for Blues is number 14 Junior Paulo
Interchange for Maroons is number 10 Lindsay CollinsInterchange for Blues is number 15 Cameron Murray
Interchange for Maroons is number 14 Harry GrantInterchange for Blues is number 16 Liam Martin
Interchange for Maroons is number 17 Jai ArrowInterchange for Blues is number 17 Nicholas Hynes
Replacement for Maroons is number 18 Tom DeardenReplacement for Blues is number 20 Matt Burton
- Referee: Ashley Klein
- Touch Judge: Drew Oultram
- Touch Judge: Phil Henderson
- Senior Review Official: Grant Atkins
- The Maroons and Blues have split the last six Origin series three apiece, the Maroons winning in 2017, 2020 and 2022, the Blues getting the job done in 2018, 2019 and 2021.
- Greg Inglis holds the record for the most State of Origin tries with 18, followed by fellow Maroons Darius Boyd (17), Dale Shearer (12), Billy Slater (12) and Dane Gagai (12).
- There have been 126 Origin matches played since the concept began in 1980, the Maroons holding a 67-57 lead with two draws.
- Blues halfback Nathan Cleary requires 12 points in Game One to become only the second NSW player to reach a century of points in State of Origin. Michael O’Connor holds the Blues’ record with 129 points. Cleary requires three goals to overtake O’Connor’s record of 42 goals for the Blues.
- Rival captains Daly Cherry-Evans and James Tedesco will achieve the milestone of 20 State of Origin appearances in the opening game.
Stats supplied by David Middleton, League Information Services, author of the official annual of the NRL.