This will be the first time Queensland play an Origin match without Johnathan Thurston and Cameron Smith since game two, 2003 – before Smith made his debut. After missing last year’s series, Greg Inglis returns to Origin and will play his 31st match, equalling both Wally Lewis and Brad Fittler. Inglis will become the 13th player to captain Queensland and only the third captain since game two, 2004, with Lockyer and Smith in charge for every match since.
NSW’s 17 players have a total of just 39 games of Origin experience, this is the lowest total any 17 players have ever had in a Origin match and it is the lowest total since game three, 1984 (NSW had 26 games of Origin experience) James Roberts becomes the first Broncos player to represent NSW since Peter Wallace did so in 2009 ( game one and two). Josh Addo-Carr becomes the first Storm player to do so since Ryan Hoffman played all three Origins in 2014. Penrith has four players representing NSW – James Maloney, Nathan Cleary, Reagan Campbell-Gillard and Tyrone Peachey - for the first time since game one, 2004 (Craig Gower, Luke Rooney, Luke Lewis and Trent Waterhouse) . Brad Fittler will coach NSW for the first time. He is the Blues’ most capped player with 31 Origins (17 wins), scoring eight tries. The past three rookie NSW coaches have won their first match in charge, with Ricky Stuart in 2005 the last to lose their first match in charge. Stuart in 2005 was also the last rookie coach to win an Origin series for NSW.
Greg Inglis (31) and Billy Slater ( 29) are the only memmembers of either side s that have played 10 OrigOrigins, with James Maloney, Ma NSW’s N most experienced ex player p with nine nin Origins to hish name.