The Canberra Raiders have been rewarded for another strong season with four players added to the 27-man squads for the upcoming State of Origin series.
Dally M Medal winner Jack Wighton and Nick Cotric have been selected in the NSW Blues squad while Josh Papalii has been named in the Queensland Maroons squad alongside Origin debutant Dunamis Lui.
Lui is the only Raiders player selected who is yet to represent their state and has earned the opportunity after his best season in his 11-year career. Lui is most likely in competition for a bench spot with fellow front rowers Lindsay Collins, Moeaki Fotuaika and Josh Kerr.
Papalii has been a mainstay in the Maroons set up in recent years, making 15 Origin appearances since his debut in 2013 and will no doubt be starting in the front row for Queensland this year. He is coming off another stellar season which saw him win Dally M prop of the year, Dally M tackle of the year and was also named the joint Meninga medalist with Wighton.
Wighton made his Origin debut last year, playing mainly at centre to help the Blues to a 2-1 series win. Despite winning the Dally M Medal and being named the Dally M five-eighth of the year, many are expecting Wighton to line up at centre once again this year due to the Blues’ depth in the halves.
Cotric made his Blues debut in game one last year before being ruled out for the remainder of the series with an ankle injury. The Bulldogs-bound Cotric played his last game for the Raiders in their preliminary final loss in which he scored the Raiders’ only two tries. Josh Addo-Carr will certainly be one of the Blues wingers with Cotric most likely in a battle with Daniel Tupou for the other spot.
Much like everything in 2020, this year’s State of Origin series will be vastly different with the series to be played at the end of the season for the first time.
Adelaide Oval will host their first Origin game in history with the opening match of the series to be played there on Wednesday night, 4 November. The series will then move to more familiar territory with game two to be played in Sydney the following Wednesday 11 November at ANZ Stadium before moving to Queensland to close the series at Suncorp Stadium on Wednesday 18 November.
Both 27-man squads are yet to be finalised with Melbourne Storm and Penrith Panthers players to be added following the NRL Grand Final on Sunday evening. The Blues have seven spots remaining in their squad while the Maroons have six.
Brad Fittler will be looking for his third series victory in as many years coaching the Blues, while Wayne Bennett is returning to the Origin arena to coach the Maroons for the first time since 2003.