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“Billy loves him”: Maroons legends split on Munster's replacement


Queensland State of Origin legends are split on who they think should replace the injured Cameron Munster and wear the famous No.6 for the Maroons for the upcoming series.

After Munster, who has played 18 games for Queensland, was ruled out for the entire 2024 series after reinjuring his groin during Magic Round, most believe his replacement is between North Queensland Cowboys playmaker Tom Dearden and Brisbane Broncos star Ezra Mam.

Dearden has experience in the Origin arena after making his debut in the 2022 series decider when Munster was a late withdrawal with Covid, while the 21-year-old Mam has been a standout for the Broncos at five-eighth this season but is yet to make his debut at the representative level.

“This is a difficult one isn’t it, well it’s a race of two between Ezra Mam and Tommy Dearden,” Cameron Smith said on SENQ Breakfast.

“For me, I think particularly for a game one, I’d go with a guy that’s performed there before and that’s Tommy Dearden but there’s so many positives about Ezra Mam, don’t get me wrong.

“I love the way he plays, I love the high energy, high involvement style of footy that he plays but Tommy Dearden, although his team is bumbling their way through the competition at the moment, I think he’s been a standout for the Cowboys.

“He is one of the best competitors in this competition and I know Billy’s a huge fan of him.

“It shows a couple of years ago in the decider, Billy had no issues throwing him in… That’d just the way I would go.”

The man, who famously created the iconic ‘Queenslander’ call, in Billy Moore agreed with the Melbourne Storm great.

“To me I’d go Tom Dearden, I think he’s been groomed for the role, I think he marries up perfectly with DCE,” he said on Mornings SENQ.

“I love the way he plays so direct, he’s brave and the fact it means so much to him, when he was selected he started crying, that resonates with Billy Moore.

“Ezra Mam, his time is coming, coming faster than we think. That’s the way I’d go, if they go the other way I wouldn’t have a problem with it either.”

While former Maroons enforcer Shane Webcke believed Ezra Mam’s “x-factor” gave him the advantage when it came to selection.

“When you lose a player like a Munster, you’re not replacing that… but what you would look for is a bloke who has a bit of x-factor about him… look at what he did in the grand final last year, that is what you look for,” he said on Mornings SENQ.

“I don’t think he’s a risk, he’s going to deliver… he’s one of those blokes that players love playing with him and that’s also another really important factor when it comes to an Origin side.”

Webcke also believed Mam’s partnership with Reece Walsh and Patrick Carrigan would also benefit him if he was selected.

Game I will be played at Sydney’s Accor Stadium on June 5.

Queensland Rugby League

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