2 days ago
The Maroons hierarchy will assess some of its brightest prospects when the Queensland (QAS) Emerging Origin Squad assembles in Brisbane next month.
The 14-man squad, which includes Dally M Player of the Year Ben Barba, will work with QAS rugby league director Wayne Bennett and current XXXX Maroons coach Mal Meninga from January 25-27.
The camp will feature five newcomers to the QAS Emerging Origin program, a key component of the Maroons' recent Origin success.
The fresh faces are Edrick Lee (Canberra Raiders), Michael Morgan (NQ Cowboys), Ben Ridge (Gold Coast Titans), Aidan Guerra (Sydney Roosters) and Josh Papalli (Canberra Raiders).
They will train alongside Bulldogs star Barba, who returns for another QAS camp in 2013 along with Justin O'Neill (Melbourne Storm), Dale Copley (Brisbane Broncos), Daly Cherry-Evans (Manly Sea Eagles), Andrew McCullough, Martin Kennedy (Sydney Roosters), Josh McGuire (Brisbane Broncos), William Zillman (Gold Coast Titans) and Chris McQueen (South Sydney Rabbitohs).
Next year will also see the introduction of a Junior Emerging Origin squad, which brings together Queensland's best young players who will be vying for spots in Queensland's Under 20 Origin team to play New South Wales.
The development squad includes six players who are not eligible for selection in the annual game due to their age.
Several of these players took part in last season's Under 20s match and selectors have opted to involve them in the January 17-20 QAS camp to further bolster their representative experience.
Queensland Rugby League (QRL) chief executive officer Robert Moore said the QAS program had been a vital cog in the pathway for elite players for many years.