Queensland Maroons, NSW Blues, Team, Election, Billy Slater, Paul Galen

Paul Galen tore the Queensland forward’s pack like an unsatisfied beast in his 24-game career with New South Wales.

And the former heartbeat of the blues has once again hit the maroons big bucks, branding them “like merchants” and announcing that they lack an aggressive spark.

Galen further predicted that Billy Slater would make a late appearance, advising the new Queensland coach to transfer Tino Fa’asuamaleui to the bench and to take Lindsay Collins to the run-on side.

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At this stage of Wednesday night’s State of Origin opener at Stadium Australia, the Blues have their pros as Payne Haas and Jr. Paolo, Damien Cook in the hooker, Cameron Murray and Tariq Sims in the second row, and Isa Yo Lock A.

The Maroons have named Fa’asumaleui and Josh Papali’i as their props, Ben Hunt in the hooker, Kurt Capwell and Felice Kaufusi in the second row and Ruben Kotar in the 13th.

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Galen’s assessment of the two forward packs is vastly different.

“I (NSW) watch a lot of football in the forward pack. I think they can attack the whole field,” said Galen Nine. 100% feet.

“I look at Queensland … they are a very tradesmen team. Forwards will work and the backs can make all the beautiful things.

“But I can only see the blues side … the whole park attack.

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“I don’t see any ball playing ability, no offloading ability in the Queensland forward pack, where I see a lot in the NSW team.

“They can attack through the middle of the field, they can attack from the edge, they can attack everywhere.”

Collins started on the bench in every game of Queensland’s successful 2020 series, but an ACL injury wiped him out of the Maroons’ entire 2021 campaign.

During the Titans’ defeat to the Broncos in Round 12, Fa’asumaleui averaged 271 runs, including 129 post-contacts, which reminded the Queensland selectors of his tremendous influence in his final game before the Origin series.

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“It wouldn’t surprise me if Lindsay Collins starts the match and maybe Tino stays on the bench, just to make some impact,” Galen said.

“He’s a big, strong body. I think he’s more influential off the bench than any other player.”

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