Storm sneak past the Cowboys to record 15th win in a row
7 hours ago | Sam Bourke
A total of 27 uncapped players were named across both the New South Wales and Queensland squads ahead of last year's series, with the Maroons blooding 14 new faces onto the field as part of their stunning 2-1 series victory.
An injury crisis across both camps forced the hands of either coaches to unveil a host of debutants and showcasing the promising future of the NRL.
Xavier Coates, Harry Grant, Tino Fa'asuamaleaui and Kurt Capewell were just some of the new names to lead the charge for Wayne Bennett's side, while Isaah Yeo, Junior Paulo and Clint Gutherson were formidable in defeat.
This year, with the league plagued with almost as many casualties as yesteryear, there are further options for Origin hopefuls to make a name for themselves at state level in what has been weighed up as an enticing series by Openchange.org.
Analysing the promising names across both the Blues and Maroons, we take a dive into who could break through the Origin barrier in 2021.
New South Wales
2020 Clive Churchill medallist Ryan Papenhuyzen is destined to pull on the sky blue jumper for Game I, but it will be a matter of where Brad Fittler opts to place the Storm superstar.
WIth James Tedesco manning the No.1 duties, Papenhuyzen will likely see himself utilised off the pine against fatigued defensive lines.
Jarome Luai, Stephen Crichton and Zac Lomax were all named in the Blues squad last season but went unused, with opportunities potentially opening up in 2021.
Luai's damaging partnership with halfback Nathan Cleary is likely to come to fruition on the bog stage, while Lomax and Crichton will be battling a number of makeshift flankers to get a gig under Fittler.
Can add another Panther into the mix, with Brian To'o having a breakout season this year and will add further headaches to selection.
With Tom Trbojevic, Jack Wighton, Latrell Mitchell and Clint Gutherson also in the running for the No.3 and No.4 spots, it'll be hard to see a newcomer break into the side.
After unveiling a long list of debutants in 2020 it's hard to see a long list of new faces make an appearance this year, but there have been several bolters for the Maroons in the opening third of the NRL season.
After making his memorable debut in the final game of last year's series-winning victory, Maroons hooker Harry Grant is sure to have some competition for the first-string rake duties from Eels dummy-half Reed Mahoney.
Mahoney has enjoyed a stellar season in the gold and blue and is sure to land a spot in Paul Green's squad, but it will take an injury or drop in form to find a starting spot above Grant.
Rooster half Sam Walker firms as another gun that is set to press household names in the starting 17, with Cameron Munster and Daly Cherry-Evans holding the halves partnership for the near future.
Walker is sure to be the leading halfback in the next era for the Maroons, but could land a reserves role this year and potentially find some minutes throughout the series.