For the Blues there were doubts over the availability of Manly back rower Glenn Stewart and it still appears very unlikely that he will play but coach Ricky Stuart has given him every chance to run out at Suncorp. Super-sized back rower Tony Williams was another player that Ricky surely did not expect to have at his disposal but following a man of the match display for the Sea Eagles against the Roosters on Sunday, Williams could not be ignored.
The decision to dump Australian winger Akuila Uate for Dragons flyer Brett Morris was also a surprise and means that the Morris twins, Brett and Josh, will play together in a Blue jersey for the first time. Brett Morris is an assured defender and has surely been selected to shore up the edge where Queensland has had some success this series.
Meanwhile for the Maroons, as expected they named an extended 20 man squad, including injured fullback Billy Slater. The Maroons have a number of injury concerns including Ashley Harrison (fractured toe) who has been left out and replaced by Ben Te’o as well as Justin Hodges (ribs) and Sam Thaiday (shoulder).
Dave Taylor was under pressure to retain his spot but the ‘Coal Train’ survived and made the extended squad but he will be hoping to survive the inevitable cull. He could drop out of the team if coach Mal Meninga decides to go with the versatility of Te’o or even possibly Matt Bowen off the bench. If Te’o does get a start it will be his Origin debut and Queensland will no doubt be looking for similar impact that he provides the Broncos with, week in and week out.
The 2012 State of Origin decider looks set to be a colossal battle and the Blues will be desperate to end the Maroons run of dominance while the Queenslanders will be hoping to send one of their greatest servants, Petero Civoniceva out on a winning note and secure their seventh series in a row. Don’t miss your chance to witness history, whether that is a Blues series victory or this Queensland team, one of the greatest rugby league teams of all time, etching their name onto the shield yet again.
Adam Schoenmaker is a high school chaplain in the northern suburbs of Brisbane for three days each week and serves two days a week in his local church. Adam loves a good book, a classic album and all Queensland sporting teams.
Adam Schoenmaker archive of articles can be viewed at www.pressserviceinternational.org/adam-schoenmaker.html