Bennett snubs Broncos in major shock
Wayne Bennett has made an immediate mark in his return to coach Queensland - announcing a series of selection gambles in his preliminary 15-man squad for the 2020 series.
Bennett's extended squad of 15 is made up of the players from clubs that have already been eliminated this season.
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The former Broncos coach's biggest surprise is the selection of just two players from his former club.
The squad announcement created history with the Gold Coast Titans enjoying more representation in a Queensland Origin squad than the Broncos for the first time.
Broncos stars Patrick Carrigan and Xavier Coates were the only Brisbane players selected while the Titans had Jai Arrow, AJ Brimson, Moeaki Fotuaika and Phillip Sami picked.
The Broncos had David Fifita unavailable through injury, while Anthony Milford, Joe Ofahengaue and Corey Oates were simply overlooked.
Cowboys veteran Josh McGuire's snub was also confirmed.
"We've got an exciting mix of both emerging and seasoned talent in the squad so far and we're really pleased to be able to announce this group today after what has been a challenging period for the game," Bennett said of the squad in a statement.
"The players named in this squad today will have a small window to freshen up before commencing work with our high performance team to ensure they are in peak condition for the series."
The Maroons have selected Kalyn Ponga in the squad, but concede he could be ruled out on Thursday after he consults a surgeon to discuss a potential operation on a labral tear that would rule him out of the entire series.
It comes after Bennett wasted no time in his new role, opting to replace Queensland assistant coach Justin Hodges with Neill Henry.
In a historic first, the entire 2020 State of Origin will take place after the NRL Grand Final, with game one scheduled for Wednesday, November 4 at Adelaide Oval.
Queensland will be hoping to prevent the New South Wales Blues from claiming their third consecutive Origin series.
Queensland State of Origin 2020 preliminary squad:
Jai Arrow (Gold Coast Titans), AJ Brimson (Gold Coast Titans), Moeaki Fotuaika (Gold Coast Titans), Phillip Sami (Gold Coast Titans), Edrick Lee (Newcastle Knights), Hymel Hunt (Newcastle Knights), Kalyn Ponga (Newcastle Knights), Valentine Holmes (North Queensland Cowboys), Coen Hess (North Queensland Cowboys), Xavier Coates (Brisbane Broncos), Patrick Carrigan (Brisbane Broncos), Ben Hunt (St George Illawarra Dragons), Josh Kerr (St George Illawarra Dragons), Harry Grant (Wests Tigers / Melbourne Storm), Daly Cherry-Evans (Manly Sea Eagles)
Originally published as Bennett snubs Broncos in major shock