Dearden has a slight lead over Mam and Slater is ready to introduce a new team

Tom Dearden Nearing a Queensland retirement as Maroons coach Billy Slater prepares to select his new team for the first match of the State of Origin series.

The North Queensland playmaker is on course to surpass the Brisbane playmaker. Ezra Mam for the number 6 shirt left by the injured Cameron Munster.

Slater and other selectors genetic miles and Darren Lockyer will choose the team on Sunday night before it is named on Monday morning on the Queensland Rugby League website.

Dearden, 23, did a fabulous job on Origin debut in game three of the 2022 series, where he received late notice that Munster were out of the game. He helped lead the Maroons to a 22-12 victory.

Mam has been in excellent form for the Broncos and announced himself as an important player by scoring three tries in last year’s NRL grand final.

“Tommy is a competitor. He’s been there before in an incredible debut and earned the right to be there,” former Maroons center. Brent Tate he told AAP. “Ezra is tough and has an X factor. When they name the team on Monday, whether it’s Tommy or Ezra, I will understand why they went that route.

“Honestly, you’re splitting hairs between the two of us. They both deserve it. There we have many options to choose from.”

The Maroons are depleted in the middle forward, with Tom Gilbert and Tino Fa’asuamaleaui out with season-ending knee injuries. Dolphin support Tom Flegler He is also unavailable due to a shoulder injury.

parramata lock J’maine Hopgood is in the frame for a debut while St George Illawarra powerhouse Jaydn Su’A has raised its hand for a withdrawal.

“I know Billy is looking at quite a few guys like Hopgood,” Lockyer said. “The guys in the box Billy talks to and gives them an idea of ​​what he’s looking for.”

Brisbane Support Corey Jensen is knocking on the door for at least a spot on an extended bench.

Slater said he would meet with Miles and Lockyer after the Warriors-Dolphins clash on Sunday night to finalize the team. “That’s when you get the information about the available players and the health of those players,” Slater said.

“Then you can make an informed decision. Everyone has their opinions. The only difference with the selectors and me is that we have to make that decision. It’s important to a lot of people and we take that responsibility to a large extent.

“That’s why it’s hard to name any individuals (as certainties) because you just don’t know until we get to that Sunday night.”

Tom Dearden runs the ball. (Photo by Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images)

More experienced forwards Francis Molo, Moeaki Fotuaika and christian wales They are also in the mix for bench spots.

Munster will miss the entire State of Origin series after scans revealed a tear in the Queensland five-eighth’s adductor tendon.

Munster has been battling groin pain since first suffering the injury when slipping in the shower during Melbourne’s pre-season trip to Fiji, missing the first month of the NRL season.

He will need eight to 10 more weeks on the sidelines after aggravating the problem in a tackle just before half-time in the Storm’s 48-16 Magic Round defeat of Parramatta.

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - JULY 12: Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow of the Maroons celebrates with teammates after a try from David Fifita during game three of the State of Origin series between New South Wales Blues and Queensland Maroons at Accor Stadium on July 12, 2023 in Sydney, Australia.  (Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)

(Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)

Last year’s team.

Origin III
1 A.J. Brimson
2 Xavier Coates
3Valentine Holmes
4 Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow
5Murray Taulagi
6 Cameron Munster
7Daly Cherry-Evans
8 Ruben Cotter
9Harry Grant
10 Tino Fa’asuamaleaui
11 David Fifita
12 Jeremiah Nanai
13 Patrick Carrigan
14Ben Hunt
15 Lindsay Collins
16 Moeaki Fotuaika
17 Corey Horsburgh

Brimson will make way for Walsh at the back, Fa’asuamaleaui is sidelined until next year with a torn ACL and Corey Horsburgh and Cameron Munster are out with groin problems.

Carrigan could be moved up front as a prop to take over Fa’asuamaleaui’s role of being the team’s main aggressor.

the spine

You can fix this on the fact that, barring injury, Walsh will be at the back, Tom Dearden and Daly Cherry-Evans will combine in the halves with Ben Hunt and Harry Grant sharing the hooking duties.

Dearden made an exemplary debut two years ago in the five-eighth when Munster were away and, if elevated to the starting team, will open up a place for Ezra Mam or Sam Walker in the expanded squad.

the backs

Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow has been electric in the center for the Maroons over the past few years and now that he has returned in time from his hamstring problem, Slater will move Selwyn Cobbo to the flank.

The Hammer will accompany Valentine Holmes in the centers.

Xavier Coates and Murray Taulagi had been the first-choice options on the flanks, although the latter will be dropped if Cobbo is not needed in the centre.

Reece Walsh of the Maroons is tackled during the second game of the State of Origin series between the Queensland Maroons and the New South Wales Blues at Suncorp Stadium on June 21, 2023 in Brisbane, Australia.  (Photo by Chris Hyde/Getty Images)

Reece Walsh. (Photo by Chris Hyde/Getty Images)

The package

David Fifita and Jeremiah Nanai have not been at their best at club level this season, but they have the ability to rise to the occasion for Origin.

Cotter is a proven 80-minute player for Queensland, while Lindsay Collins has become one of the NRL’s best mainstays at the Roosters.

The only real question Slater faces is whether he will bring new blood to his bench by picking Hopgood or Jensen or stick with players who have been there and done that like Fotuaika and Welch.

Hopgood’s ability to switch to a lead could give him an advantage over other options for a bench role.

Possible maroon team

1 Reece Walsh
2 Xavier Coates
3Valentine Holmes
4 Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow
5Selwyn Cobbo
6Tom Dearden
7Daly Cherry-Evans
8 Ruben Cotter
9Ben Hunt
10Lindsay Collins
11 David Fifita
12 Jeremiah Nanai
13 Patrick Carrigan
14Harry Grant
15 Welsh Christian
16 Moeaki Fotuaika
17 J’maine Hopgood
18 Ezra Mom

with AAP

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