Mal's Maroons seek 7th heaven

Queensland coach Mal Meninga.
Queensland coach Mal Meninga.

QUEENSLAND coach Mal Meninga has denied his troops will lack motivation for next Wednesday's first State of Origin at Melbourne's Etihad Stadium, despite the fact his team has won the last six straight series.

Meninga spoke at last night's naming of the Maroons extended 19-man squad at Suncorp Stadium in front of about 400 fans and Origin legends.

"No, no, no," Meninga said when asked about the challenge of priming his team to win an unprecedented seventh-straight series.

"We've won six series in a row but we've only played 18 games.

"It's not like club footy.

"So each game of Origin is unique and it's a really special time.

"We'll be prepared really well and we won't be complacent, put it that way."

Broncos forward Matt Gillett is set to make his debut off the interchange bench.

"He's earned himself a spot in the Queensland side, he's been playing extremely well this year," Meninga said.

"He's been in the Emerging Squad and his time has come.

"He's a great impact player and ball runner, he brings great aggression with the way he plays.

"He's just got to bring his natural game."

The Maroons picked an extended squad with Manly halfback Daly Cherry-Evans and Storm centre Dane Nielsen as the inclusions.

"We thought we'd pick an extended squad just to help with our preparations and to give Daly some experience and give him a feel for what Origin is about," Meninga said.

"With Dane he deserves a spot to be around the team.

"There was a bit of doubt over Hodgo (starting centre Justin Hodges) who suffered an ankle complaint last week.

"It'll be good to have some more numbers to help with our preparation."

Broncos back-rower Corey Parker was left off the interchange bench at the expense of Gillett.

"It was tough leaving out Corey but we feel the 17 that will run out will do us proud," Meninga said.

Veteran 36-year-old Broncos prop Petero Civoniceva will play his 31st Origin.

"There was never a question about Petero, he just had to make himself available," Meninga said.


Queensland Squad:

Billy Slater (Melbourne Storm) Darius Boyd (Newcastle Knights), Greg Inglis (Souths), Justin Hodges (Brisbane Broncos), Brent Tate (North Queensland Cowboys), Johnathan Thurston (North Queensland Cowboys), Cooper Cronk (Melbourne Storm), Matthew Scott (North Queensland Cowboys), Cameron Smith (C) (Melbourne Storm), Petero Civoniceva (Brisbane Broncos), Nate Myles (Gold Coast Titans), Sam Thaiday (Brisbane Broncos), Ashley Harrison (Gold Coast Titans) INTERCHANGE: Matt Gillett (Brisbane Broncos), David Taylor (Souths), Ben Hannant (Brisbane Broncos), David Shillington (Canberra Raiders), 18th man Daly Cherry-Evans (Manly Sea Eagles), 19th man Dane Nielsen (Melbourne Storm). Coach: Mal Meninga

Topics:  etihad stadium mal meninga maroons melbourne rugby league state of origin

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