Cooper Cronk is set to make his return to Rugby League at Suncorp Stadium next Wednesday after he was included in the Queensland side for the third and final game of the 2014 State Of Origin Series.
Cronk has not played since he broke him arm ten minutes into the opening game of the 2014 State Of Origin Series, but Queensland selectors are confident that the halfback will be fit to take his place
The inclusion of Cronk means that Daly Cherry-Evans will drop back to the bench, after starting at halfback in game 2, and Queensland coach Mal Meninga believes that selectors are not taking a risk including Cronk in the starting side.
“He is fit and ready to go, he would have played for the Storm this weekend if available,” Meninga said.
“We will not jeopardise his health and he is ready to go.”
Brisbane Broncos lock Corey Parker is also set to make his return in State Of Origin 3 after recovering from the facial facture that saw him ruled out of the second game of the series, which Queensland lost to New South Wales to end their historic eight series winning streak.
Melbourne Storm centre Will Chambers has been named to replace Brent Tate on the wing and will be making his long-awaited State Of Origin debut after being a member of the Queensland squad for a number of years.
Consistent prop Matthew Scott and utility Chris McQueen have both been ruled out of the squad due to injury, while Brisbane Broncos prop Josh McGuire and North Queensland Cowboys fullback Michael Morgan have been named as 18th and 19th men respectively.
While New South Wales have already wrapped up their first State Of Origin Series victory since 2005, Meninga still expects Queensland to come out firing at Suncorp Stadium next Wednesday and is hoping that his side can improve on their performances from the opening two games of the series.
“It is about our pride,” Meninga said.
“We have built up a fantastic strong culture in the last few years and we want to make sure that everytime we put on a Maroon jersey that we are at our best.
“That is our goal and we want to play really well in front of a home crowd next Wednesday.
“We haven’t played to our potential in game one and two and we want to do that; we were beaten by a better side.”
Queensland are currently available at odds of $1.57 with Ladbrokes.com.au to deny New South Wales a 2014 State Of Origin clean sweep.
2014 Queensland State Of Origin Game 3 Team
1. Billy Slater
2. Darius Boyd
3. Greg Inglis
4. Justin Hodges
5. Will Chambers
6. Johnathan Thurston
7. Cooper Cronk
8. Jacob Lillyman
9. Cameron Smith
10. Nate Myles
11. Aidan Guerra
12. Sam Thaiday
13. Corey Parker
14. Daly Cherry-Evans
15. Ben Te’o
16. Matt Gillett
17. Dave Taylor
18. Josh McGuire
19. Michael Morgan