Stuart has staked his reputation on this squad, overlooking selection certainties like Australian centre Jamal Idris, fullback Jarryd Hayne and winger Josh Morris for untested rookies. Stuart also made some strange, yet less surprising selections in the forward pack.
This is a massive gamble for Stuart who declared the team wouldn't change in games 1, 2 or 3 – meaning if the gamble doesn't pay off in game one he's stuck with his poor selections for all three.
Clearly, he has made this commitment to stop the farce of New South Wales selectors fielding over 60 different players since their previous win 6 years ago. However, he has boxed himself into a corner.
One thing New South Wales has going for it is its almost unwinnable status. Being named as the 'worst team in origin history' can only fire up the team, something that Queensland will be dreading.
Queensland on the other hand has nothing to prove and nothing to lose – not a bad position to be in providing the team remembers what its playing for – QUEENSLAND.
Both teams have selected strong forward packs and like all exciting origins this one will be won or lost up front with the big men. Likewise, both teams have missed selection opportunities in the backs and as a result, NSW appears to have greater strike power in the backs. Players like Gasnier, Uate and Jennings will be difficult to stop.
The most significant difference between the teams are their reserve benches. Queensland has a fierce, powerful, workhorse of a bench in Hannant, Lillyman, Parker and Cronk. These four payers will be a nightmare for New South Wales in the last 15 minutes of each half.
New South Wales have gone for Creagh, Merrin, Mannah and Young. All strong and Origin worthy players, but not even in the same league as the Queensland bench.
It is a difficult match to pick, so I will have a bob each way. If New South Wales wins it will be by less then 6 points and if Queensland wins it will be by at least 12.