It feels distinctly odd to be writing about State of Origin football in November, but these are distinctly odd times, are they not?
So the calendar shows the wrong page when the State of Origin topic arises; much credit to the entire country in general and the NRL is particular for adapting in such a manner that most of the 2020 NRL Premiership competition went off and Melbourne Storm concluded with the premiership.
Our sense of how State of Origin will play out is that it will be epic, as it is almost every year, mainly from the passion the NRL players hold for the series.
One difference that might impact things for the 2020 State of Origin series is that the Queensland Maroons are selecting younger players, whereas both sides typically find top players nearer the end than the beginning of their careers.
There has some concern expressed over the relative Origin experience of some of the Maroons, but it is not as though Queensland is sending out players lacking rugby credentials.
The series will open in Adelaide and of the 21 players Queensland has announced, there are 12 who have never played Origin.
The 21 selected players account for 68 Origin appearances and the true veteran of the group, Canberra Raider’s prop and second-rower Josh Papalii, has made 15 State of Origin appearances.
He first took the Origin ground in 2013. He was born in New Zealand and his NRL club is in the ACT, so if anyone were to wonder how he qualifies for the Maroons, it is because he moved to Queensland in 1997, where he was raised.
His additional qualification is that he has played 10 full NRL seasons, all of them with Canberra.
The Maroons might field some inexperienced players, but Maroons coach Wayne Bennett will be coaching his 23rd State of Origin series.
Daly Cherry-Evans will be the Maroons’ skipper for the 2020 State of Origin series and his 11 appearances provide an additional level of experience to complement the 15 appearances of Papalii.
Both players share the commonality of playing for one club for their entire careers. That club, in Cherry-Evan’s case, is Manly Sea Eagles.
TAG: Young Queensland Maroons have veteran presence in coaches and several players.