SYDNEY Roosters forward Aidan Guerra will continue the proud tradition of Townsville players to wear the maroon jumper after being named the 178th player to represent Queensland at State of Origin last night.
The former Townsville Brother junior will follow the path of former Queensland great Gene Miles and injured forward Sam Thaiday who were both Townsville products.
Guerra, possibly the first player of Italian decent picked for Queensland, has been drafted into the champion Queensland side chasing a ninth straight interstate series win after Thaiday pulled the pin on his bid to play Origin number 21 on the weekend.
Ironically, the rangy, gangly Guerra, who played three Tests for Italy in last year's World Cup, is not unlike Thaiday the way he rips and chargers into the opposition.
Guerra follows last year's debutants Josh Papalii (177) and Daly Cherry-Evans (176) into the Queensland Origin fold.
He was the only new face in coach Mal Meninga's extended 20-man squad named at a gala dinner at Suncorp Stadium last night at which players from the very first Origin in 1980, walked out on stage with those who will do battle in the opening game of the series in the 100th Origin clash at the same ground where the late Arthur Beetson inspired a 20-10 victory to launch the concept in 1980.
Thaiday's place in the starting pack has gone to his Brisbane teammate Matt Gillett although that could change by game night, depending on a number of factors leading up to the clash.
Melbourne outside back Will Chambers was again named 18th man with Roosters hooker Jake Friend also added to the squad.
NSW meanwhile will reveal their squad today with coach Laurie Daley reportedly set to replace Roosters halves Mitchell Pearce and James Maloney with Bulldogs pair Trent Hodkinson and Josh Reynolds who have guided the Dogs to seven straight wins an the outright NRL premiership lead.
1. Billy Slater
2. Darius Boyd
3. Greg Inglis
4. Justin Hodges
5. Brent Tate
6. Johnathan Thurston
7. Cooper Cronk
8. Matt Scott
9. Cameron Smith
10. Nate Myles
18. Chris McQueen
12. Matt Gillett
13. Corey Parker
14. Daly Cherry-Evans
15. Ben Te'o
16. Aidan Guerra
17. Josh Papalii
19. Will Chambers
20. Jake Friend
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