How Queensland shape up for Origin III

Queensland fans will hope for spark from Kalyn Ponga on return to State Origin after injury.
Queensland fans will hope for spark from Kalyn Ponga on return to State Origin after injury.

HOW QUEENSLAND SHAPE UP FOR STATE OF ORIGIN III

Fullback - Kalyn Ponga

Age: 23

Origins: 3

Tries: 0

Making a welcome return from injury for his first game of series, the elusive fullback poses a much-needed offensive threat.

Winger - Valentine Holmes

Age: 25

Origins: 9

Tries: 9

Goes back to the wing where he has proven a genuine try-scoring machine for the Maroons. All nine of his Origin tries have come in his six games on the wing.

Centre - Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow

Age: 19

Origins: 0

Tries: 0

The latest to be given the Tom Trbojevic defensive assignment - a tough ask for a teenager on debut - but boasts enviable speed in a clear tactical shift from Paul Green.

Centre - Dane Gagai

Age: 30

Origins: 18

Tries: 11

Centre rival Latrell Mitchell has won by knockout in both Origin games this season and Queensland need their talisman firing to be a chance.

Winger - Xavier Coates

Age: 20

Origins: 4

Tries: 2

Sensationally recalled on game-day for the ineligible Ronaldo Mulitalo in Brisbane, high-flying Coates will hope for more space to move after retaining his spot ahead of axed Kyle Feldt.

Five-eighth - Cameron Munster

Age: 26

Origins: 12

Tries: 1

Hasn't managed to make a dent in the series, the Maroons' attack again misfiring when they did have early opportunities in the Brisbane loss.

Halfback - Daly Cherry-Evans (captain)

Age: 32

Origins: 16

Tries: 1

Like Munster, largely ineffective despite a better kicking game in Brisbane and his captaincy has come under fire after back-to-back floggings.

Prop - Christian Welch

Age: 26

Origins: 5

Tries: 0

Was out on his feet after a lung-busting first stint in Brisbane as part of a pack that was again comprehensively beaten.

Hooker - Ben Hunt

Age: 31

Origins: 10

Tries: 0

Promoted off the bench at Andrew McCullough's expense, could prove a point-of-difference for a Maroons attack that has been tardy so far.

Prop - Josh Papalii

Age: 29

Origins: 19

Tries: 3

Back from suspension for Game II, veteran Papalii's inclusion yielded just 92 metres from 10 runs and he'll need to find a way to be more effective.

Back-rower - Kurt Capewell

Age: 27

Origins: 5

Tries: 1

Happy to be out of the centres and into the familiar confines of the backrow, where he can generate some go-forward and feed Tabuai-Fidow early ball.

Back-rower - Felise Kaufusi

Age: 29

Origins: 11

Tries: 1

Not used to having his colours lowered once, let alone twice, and will want to turn the tables after a relatively quiet game two.

Lock - Tino Fa'asuamaleaui

Age: 21

Origins: 5

Tries: 0

Was initially benched ifor this game after a quiet series - he made just 71 metres in game two - but back into the starting side after Jai Arrow and David Fifita were both denied berths.

Interchange:

AJ Brimson

Age: 22

Origins: 3

Tries: 1

Just how the Gold Coast fullback is used is an intriguing question as Paul Green looks to get the most of out the talented up-and-comer.

Frank Molo

Age: 26

Origins: 1

Tries: 0

An honest debut in Brisbane and will hope to get his teeth into the contest again.

Moeaki Fotuaika

Age: 21

Origins: 3

Tries: 0

The talented forward has been in great form at club level and is waiting for a break-out Origin performance that is seemingly inevitable.

Tom Flegler

Age: 21

Origins: 0

Tries: 0

A surprise debut for the Brisbane forward, who has been ordered to play the role of aggressor off the bench after conceding earlier this year his form didn't warrant a call-up.

18th man:

Kurt Mann

Age: 28

Origins: 0

Tries: 0

The Newcastle utility has snuck into the match-day squad as 18th man thanks to Fifita and Arrow's exits, opening the door for another unlikely Origin debut.

Australian Associated Press