The 2017 Queensland Maroons Emerging Origin squad will feature two Aquis Gold Coast Titans players already making a name for themselves in the NRL.
2016 NRL Rookie of the Year Ash Taylor and new recruit Jarrod Wallace have been named in Kevin Walters’ 20-man squad.
Earlier this week, Walters told the Courier Mail that he regards Taylor as a solution to life after Johnathan Thurston in the Maroons squad.
“Ash can potentially be a long-term halfback for us in the mould of Johnathan or Cooper Cronk,” Walters said.The pair will take part in a January training camp that will help develop the next generation of Maroons talent.
“Ash really impresses me. He had a great rookie season and he hasn’t surprised me a great deal to be honest. I always knew he was a good player who could make the step up at NRL level.
“Cooper and ‘Jonno’ could be finished before my time is up with the Queensland side, so we need to keep the transition period flowing.
Queensland’s Emerging Origin program has proven a success. Since its inception in 2001, more than 50 Queenslanders have graduated to play Origin, including last season’s squad members Corey Oates and Justin O’Neill.
Taylor has been on Walters’ radar for some time. The 21-year-old was invited to train with the Maroons during last season’s Origin campaign, but was forced to withdraw due to a groin injury.
Also rewarded with a call-up to the squad is Nene Macdonald, rewarded for his standout season with the Titans in 2016 before linking with the St George Illawarra Dragons for 2017.
Ryan James and Nathan Peats were also named in the NSW Blues Emerging Origin squad earlier this week.
The 2017 State of Origin series will kick off in Brisbane on May 31, Game II on June 21 before the final game of the series returns to Suncorp Stadium on July 12.
Full 2017 Queensland Emerging Origin Squad:
- Jayson Bukuya (Cronulla Sharks)
- Dale Copley (Sydney Roosters)
- Kyle Feldt (NQ Cowboys)
- Tim Glasby (Melbourne Storm)
- Jake Granville (NQ Cowboys)
- Coen Hess (NQ Cowboys)
- Valentine Holmes (Cronulla Sharks)
- Ben Hunt (Brisbane Broncos)
- Felise Kaufusi (Melbourne Storm)
- Edrick Lee (Canberra Raiders)
- Ethan Lowe (NQ Cowboys)
- Nene Macdonald (St George Illawarra Dragons)
- Anthony Milford (Brisbane Broncos)
- Cameron Munster (Melbourne Storm)
- Moses Mybe (Canterbury Bulldogs)
- Dylan Napa (Sydney Roosters)
- Lloyd Perrett (Canterbury Bulldogs)
- Ashley Taylor (Gold Coast Titans)
- Christian Welch (Melbourne Storm)
- Jarrod Wallace (Gold Coast Titans)